Monday, October 06, 2014

Open Link Monday -- Abou Ben Adhem

. . . [please click on the picture to make it a bit larger]
. . . . . . . . [ -- I am the boy in the back row]
By Leigh Hunt 1784–1859 Leigh Hunt
Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
And saw, within the moonlight in his room,
Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
An angel writing in a book of gold:—
Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
And to the presence in the room he said,
"What writest thou?"—The vision raised its head,
And with a look made of all sweet accord,
Answered, "The names of those who love the Lord."
"And is mine one?" said Abou. "Nay, not so,"
Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,
But cheerly still; and said, "I pray thee, then,
Write me as one that loves his fellow men."
The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night
It came again with a great wakening light,
And showed the names whom love of God had blest,
And lo! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest

Poem copied from the Poetry Foundation,

The picture above was my annual "school picture."  I believe that I was in the fifth grade, our school taught eight grades but some were empty.  I was five when I started.  My sister, Lois (link), is front row right, standing near the teacher.  She was four or five, depending on when the picture was taken, and had started in the first grade.

This was the second and longer poem that I had ever memorized. (My first poem memorized was "Trees" by Joyce Kilmer).
I had come to like this poem and somehow I applied it to my life.  It probably calmed for life some of my bad side bones and helped set my personality. 

The poem was in an old poetry book that I found rummaging upstairs in an unused bookcase.  The bookcase had belonged to my father's aunt, Aunt Minnie. The book was either hers or my mom's from her younger days.
I still have that little book, a paperback, someplace packed away for now.

Here is some author material the bottom from the bottom of the page linked to above:


Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet - Leigh Hunt 1784–1859


SCHOOL / PERIOD - Romantic
Poetic Terms - Couplet"
_ _ _ _ _

Monday, I am linked with Kerry at the Real Toads, Open Link Monday (link)

Her Challenge: "Do you have a poem that you would like to share with us today? (see above) Please link up a piece of your choice and join us in reading and responding to the best of online poetry. (see below)"
_ _ _ _ _
Abou Ben Adhem
Leigh Hunt, my inspiration
Stayed with me for life
Old book of poetry mine
One treasure never stolen

Tanka poem and School picture Copyright, © 2014, 2010, Jimmiehov, All Rights Reserved

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At Monday, October 06, 2014 12:46:00 PM, Blogger Sumana Roy said...

Ha...I read Abu Ben Adhem in school as well.. :)

At Monday, October 06, 2014 1:15:00 PM, Blogger Kerry O'Connor said...

Fascinating story, Jim. I enjoyed your tale of how you came to love this poem.

At Monday, October 06, 2014 3:19:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Thank you for sharing this interesting bit of history. I'm something of an armchair history buff. I have to shame-facedly say that I don't believe I'd read this poem or heard of this fascinating individual until now.

At Monday, October 06, 2014 3:31:00 PM, Blogger brudberg said...

So good to have a treasure like that still. So much better than having to find the words at Gutenberg .. thank your for sharing this.

At Monday, October 06, 2014 3:45:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

What a delight to read a little about you and your childhood!

At Monday, October 06, 2014 6:36:00 PM, Blogger audrey` said...

"A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;" :)

At Monday, October 06, 2014 9:10:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had never read this before - I like it. BTW - you looked very shy in the picture. Were you?

At Tuesday, October 07, 2014 4:50:00 AM, Blogger Marian said...

what a lovely reflection. thanks for sharing this, Jim.

At Tuesday, October 07, 2014 7:01:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A sweet poem and a sweet story too. Thanks for sharing it. K.

At Tuesday, October 07, 2014 8:46:00 AM, Blogger Helen said...

Thank your for sharing .. And for the visit to my blog! My sister and young family lived in Evanston back in the 60s. I would herd the boys onto the train in St. Louis for Cousin time! Oh, those were the days, my friend!

At Tuesday, October 07, 2014 10:50:00 AM, Blogger Sherry Blue Sky said...

What a very cool read, Jim, thanks. And I so love the stories hidden in old photos, could look at them all day. I so agree with your comment on my poem. I try to hang onto hope, but in the face of all of the ills and the COMPLETE lack of action on the part of governments, it is hard to think anything will change before it is too late. Too late is looking pretty likely at this point. Sigh. Thanks for visiting and commenting.


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