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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Youth - A state of mind

Debra laughs with life.

"YOUTH" by Samuel Ullman

Youth is not a time of life; it is a state of mind; it is not a matter of rosy cheeks, red lips and supple knees; it is a matter of the will, a quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions; it is the freshness of the deep springs of life.

Youth means a temperamental predominance of courage over timidity of the appetite, for adventure over the love of ease. This often exists in a man of sixty more than a boy of twenty. Nobody grows old merely by a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals.

Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul. Worry, fear, self-distrust bows the heart and turns the spirit back to dust.

Whether sixty or sixteen, there is in every human being's heart the lure of wonder, the unfailing child-like appetite of what's next, and the joy of the game of living. In the center of your heart and my heart there is a wireless station; so long as it receives messages of beauty, hope, cheer, courage and power from men and from the infinite, so long are you young.

When the aerials are down, and your spirit is covered with snows of cynicism and the ice of pessimism, then you are grown old, even at twenty, but as long as your aerials are up, to catch the waves of optimism, there is hope you may die young at eighty.


For years, Samuel Ullman (1840-1924) and his prose poem "Youth" have been known and admired by the Japanese.  "Youth"was a favorite poem of General Douglas MacArthur. The poem was on the wall of  MacArthur's office in Tokyo when he became Supreme Allied Commander in Japan. In addition, he often quoted from the poem in his speeches, leading to it becoming better known in Japan than in the United States. However, both the man and his work are largely unknown in the United States, even in Birmingham where he spent the last forty years of his life in service to the community as a businessman, poet, and humanitarian.

2 comments:

Chez Radford said...

Deb, I am always fascinated, that in modern society, it seem natural beauty is not something we 'aspire' to. Surgery keeps us young. Or does it?
Thank you for introducing me to Samuel Ullman
Chez xo

Chez Radford said...

Oops! Love the picture xo

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