By Douglas Young, Ph.D.

Professor of Political Science & History

UNG –Gainesville

As my leaves begin to brown,
I want ever more to plant my tree,
Big, bold, tall, and sound,
Inspiring others and outlasting me.

Wandering graveyards and reading dates,
Lives are reduced to names and mates,
Noting whose plots are well kept
And whose are now decrepit.

How soon dear ones who’ve died at work
Are fast forgotten, no matter the hurt,
As carefully crafted castles along the shore
Are soon leveled by waves with nary a roar.

We’re brief “Here”s in the roll call of time,
Small cameos in a film that won’t rewind,
For even a Victorian home bulldozed for an office,
In a few years is all but forgotten.

So how best to lay down a legacy,
Deep-rooted in spite of me,
A home-run record that won’t be broken,
A souvenir to keep, not some token?

For even Ozymandias got overtaken by time,
Since statues become challenges for children to climb.
As sidewalk chalk marks get erased by rain,
So last year’s bird’s nest is never used again.

Yet values last as timeless truths,
And a kindness delivered can’t be diluted.
All the good we do
Can inspire others, too.

Good (and bad) deeds
Plant many strong seeds
As we provide much of the toil
That helps till the youths’ soil.

If we want our values remembered
Long after our lives are surrendered,
We should grab every chance to help others,
Spreading the gospel that we’re all brothers.

True teachers are preachers of ideas,
Not selfishly promoting themselves,
But inspiring students to be pioneers,
Not conformist little elves.

As promoters of principles and dreams,
We can impact ‘way more than it seems.
So work hard and celebrate what’s profound
To leave a legacy that’s good and sound.

Copyright © 2015 by Douglas Young, reprinted with permission