The Big Think

August 29, 2004

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 10:39 pm

The Olympic closing ceremonies concluded tonight, and thanks to Tivo, we caught them all. Nothing has the same wonderful feeling of global solidarity and peace as this incredible event, and we were able to see most of the nights (including the unusual thrill of watching a friend win silver). Greece was special because of all the historical locations, and the inclusion of the real-leaf laurel was inspired. 4 years until Beijing.

I’ll leave off with one of my favorite poems of all time. Read and memorized in 7th grade, it’s wistful longing is somehow appropriate today.

To An Athlete Dying Young

The time you won your town the race
We chaired you through the market-place;
Man and boy stood cheering by,
And home we brought you shoulder-high.
To-day, the road all runners come,
Shoulder-high we bring you home,
And set you at your threshold down,
Townsman of a stiller town.

Smart lad, to slip betimes away
From fields where glory does not stay,
And early though the laurel grows
It withers quicker than the rose.
Eyes the shady night has shut
Cannot see the record cut,
And silence sounds no worse than cheers
After earth has stopped the ears:

Now you will not swell the rout
Of lads that wore their honours out,
Runners whom renown outran
And the name died before the man.

So set, before its echoes fade,
The fleet foot on the sill of shade,
And hold to the low lintel up
The still-defended challenge-cup.
And round that early-laurelled head
Will flock to gaze the strengthless dead,
And find unwithered on its curls
The garland briefer than a girl’s.
A. E. Housman

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