Monday, April 6, 2009

...of thinking and calves

...think, think, think. This seems to be the theme lately in our house- what can we do with what we have? How can we do it differently? Is there a way to do it better?

And I guess since cows and calves have been on the brain I was reminded of a wonderful poem I ran across a few years ago. Hope you enjoy.

The Golden Calf of Precedent
by Sam Walter Foss (1858-1911)

One day, through the primeval wood,
A calf walked home, as good calves

But made a trail all bent
A crooked
trail as all calves do.
Since then three hundred
years have fled,
And, I
infer, the calf is dead.
But still he left
behind his trail,
And thereby
hangs my moral tale.
The trail was
taken up next day,
By a lone dog that
passed that way.
And then a
wise bell-wether sheep,
Pursued the trail
o'er vale and steep;
drew the flock behind him too,
As good
bell-wethers always do.
from that day, o'er hill and glade.
those old woods a path was

And many men wound in
and out,
And dodged, and turned,
and bent about;
And uttered words of
righteous wrath,
Because 'twas
such a crooked path.
But still they
followed - do not laugh -
first migrations of that calf.
And through
this winding wood-way
Because he wobbled when he walked.

This forest path became
a lane,
that bent, and turned, and
turned again.
This crooked lane
became a road,
Where many a poor horse
with his load,
Toiled on
beneath the burning sun,
And traveled some
three miles in one.
thus a century and a half,
They trod the
footsteps of that calf.

The years passed on in swiftness fleet,
The road became a village
And this, before men were aware,
city's crowded
And soon the central street was this,
Of a
And men two centuries and a half,
Trod in the
of that calf.

Each day a hundred thousand rout,
Followed the zigzag
calf about;
And o'er his crooked journey went,
The traffic of a
Hundred thousand men were led,
By one
calf near three
centuries dead.
They followed still his crooked way,
lost one
hundred years a day;
For thus such reverence is lent,
To well
established precedent.

A moral lesson this might teach,
Were I
ordained and called to preach;
For men are prone to go it blind,
the calf-paths of the mind;
And work away from sun to sun,
To do what
other men have done.
They follow in the beaten track,
And out and in,
and forth and back,
And still their devious course
To keep the
path that others do.
They keep the path a sacred
Along which all
their lives they move.
But how the wise old
wood gods laugh,
Who saw the
first primeval calf!
Ah! many things
this tale might teach -
But I am not
ordained to preach.

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