Creativity Magazine

Corny It May Be . . . But . . .

By Vickilane
Corny It May Be . . . But . . .
Abou Ben Adhem By Leigh Hunt

Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!) Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace, And saw, within the moonlight in his room, Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom, An angel writing in a book of gold: Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold, And to the presence in the room he said, "What writest thou?" The vision raised its head, And with a look made of all sweet accord, Answered, "The names of those who love the Lord." Corny It May Be . . . But . . .
"And is mine one?" said Abou. "Nay, not so,"

Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,
But cheerily still; and said, "I pray thee, then,
Write me as one that loves his fellow men."

The angel wrote and vanished. The next night

It came again with a great wakening light,
And shower the names whom love of God had blest,
And lo! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest.
Corny It May Be . . . But . . .

This poem, one I learned in grade school, has been rattling around my head. Yes, it's old-fashioned, sentimental sing-song (one reason I still remember it) and a real poet would dismiss it out of hand. But I (a non- believer) still like the point it makes and wish we had more Abou ben Adhems around. I suspect that it's a lot harder to love one's ornery, sweaty, troubled and often irrational fellow men  than it is to love the idea of God.
Corny It May Be . . . But . . .

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