December 04, 2007

A Story Of Two Pictures

The part of history that I read concerning the Apache warrior, Gernonimo, was sad, to me. When I posted that, I, obviously, was unaware of another part of his history depicting the heinousness of his treatment of his captives. I know that he went after his enemies with a vengeance because of what happened to his wife, children, and mother, and I don't know how to evaluate that. Why do any of us do the things that we do, that go against the values and morals of another? I think in the grand scheme of things that the choices we make in our lives are greatly influenced by past circumstances, whether good or bad. That said, it is still our choice to make. It could be said that our environment has everything to do with what we become, but if that were completely true, I would hate to think of where, or what, I would be now.

Thinking about all of that reminded me of this poem:

A Story of Two Pictures

Two pictures hung on the dingy wall
Of a grand old Florentine hall-

One of a child of beauty rare,
With a cherub face and golden hair;
The lovely look of whose radiant eyes
Filled the soul with thoughts of Paradise.

The other was a visage vile
Marked with the lines of lust and guile,
A loathsome being, whose features fell
Brought to the soul weird thoughts of hell.

Side by side in their frames of gold,
Dingy and dusty and cracked and old,
This is the solemn tale they told;

A youthful painter found one day,
In the streets of Rome, a child at play,
And, moved by the beauty it bore,
The heavenly look that its features wore,
On a canvas, radiant and grand,
He painted its face with a master hand.

Year after year on his wall it hung;
'Twas ever joyful and always young-
Driving away all thoughts of gloom
While the painter toiled in his dingy room.

Like an angel of light it met his gaze,
Bringing him dreams of his boyhood days,
Filling his soul with a sense of praise.

His raven ringlets grew thin and gray,
His young ambition all passed away;
Yet he looked for years in many a place,
To find a contrast to that sweet face.

Through haunts of vice in the night he stayed
To find some ruin that crime had made.
At last in a prison cell he caught
A glimpse of the hideous fiend he sought.

On a canvas weird and wild but grand,
He painted the face with a master hand.

His task was done;'twas a work sublime-
An angel of joy and a fiend of crime-
A lesson of life from the wrecks of time.

O crime: with ruin thy road is strewn;
The brightest beauty the world has known
Thy power has wasted, till in the mind
No trace of its prescence is left behind.

The loathsome wretch in the dungeon low,
With a face of a fiend and a look of woe,
Ruined by revels of crime and sin,
A pitiful wreck of what might have been,
Hated and shunned, and without a home,
Was the child that played in the streets of Rome.

Origin and Author Unknown


sheoflittlebrain said...

I'm going to be haunted by that poem all day Jan, probably much longer...thanks for sharing.

Michael said...

Incredible poem.

Take Care

Jan said...

She..I'm glad you enjoyed the poem, too. I have always liked it, and am reminded of it, many times. :)

Jan said...

michael..thanks! I have always thought so, from the very first time that I read it.

You take care, too! :)

rockync said...

No matter where we come from, it's all about the choices we make. I've been working at the jail the last couple of days and today I happened to be seeing an inmate for sick call. During our conversation, we were talking about how much longer he had to be there, etc. I finally said to him,"It's really this simple, get out of this jail and don't come back. Whatever you do from the day you leave, don't do anything that will put you back in jail." He looked at me and said thank you for I'd just reminded him of what his grandmother once told him: "It doesn't take any more to do good than it does to do bad." Choice put him in there and perhaps his next choice will keep him out. Right now, it's all up to him, isn't it?

Jan said...

rockync..I think it is neat that you said the same thing that his grandmother had said..maybe, it will make him think.

rockync said...

I always believe that God puts me in a job to serve a purpose, so perhaps even in a jailhouse, I can make some kind of difference.

Anonymous said...

Scary poem, Jan! Calls for at least a quart of Southern Comfort as an antidote!

Jan said...

rockync..I believe that, too. I saw a plaque once, with the words, "Grow Where You're Planted."

I think that we make more of a difference than we realize, sometimes, with no more than a simple act of kindness.

Jan said... make me laugh! :)