Tina Lewis Rowe

Insights, Information & Inspiration

Our Hearts Are Muffled Drums

ScotlandWilliam C. Doren and Janice Waller McKinney died yesterday. I don’t know those two people, I only know they were part of the approximately 6,700 people in the United States and 155,000 people world-wide, whose lives came to a close yesterday–along with Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson.  

The inevitability of that event for all of us reinforces the lines of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in his poem, The Psalm of Life.  This is the portion I thought about today:


    …Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
        And our hearts, though stout and brave,
    Still, like muffled drums, are beating
        Funeral marches to the grave.

Lives of great men all remind us
        We can make our lives sublime,
    And, departing, leave behind us
        Footprints on the sands of time;

    Footprints, that perhaps another,
        Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
    A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
        Seeing, shall take heart again.

    Let us, then, be up and doing,
        With a heart for any fate;
    Still achieving, still pursuing,
        Learn to labor and to wait.

There are many things about life and death that we can’t choose. However, we can choose whether our march is purposeful and cheerful or indecisive and sluggish–and whether we are still achieving and pursuing or still dragging our feet and complaining, right up to the end of the journey in this earthly life. What tempo is the beat of your muffled drum?

June 26th, 2009 Posted by | Life and Work, Personal and Professional Development | 7 comments