Friday, May 24, 2013

Poetry Friday -- Think For Yourself

This week, I've done a series of 3 reviews of books on the theme THINK FOR YOURSELF. (Day Two comes with a bonus -- a link to WordEyes, a site that teaches vocabulary using art. Check it out.)
  • We need to make decisions based upon what we know to be right, rather than letting others tell us what to do.
  • We need to think for ourselves, rather than listening to what others tell us to think. 
  • We need to love our friends for who they are, rather than believing what others tell us about them. 
Flannery O'Connor said, "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you odd."

Emily Dickinson advised

Tell all the Truth but tell it slant---
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth’s superb surprise
As Lightning to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind---

And Gerard Manley Hopkins famously championed all that is unique in the world:


Glory be to God for dappled things –
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough;
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
                  Praise him.

What's your favorite book, quote, or poem that says to you, "THINK FOR YOURSELF!" ?

Jama has the Poetry Friday roundup this week at Jama's Alphabet Soup.


  1. Anonymous10:27 AM

    Yay, independent thinkers!

    Yay, Emily, especially.

  2. Love the Flannery O'Connor quote - she certainly lived the message! Eleanor Roosevelt once said:
    Never allow a person to tell you no who doesn't have the power to say yes.
    The older I get, the better I understand what she meant.

  3. Swoon -- Dickinson, O'Connor and Hopkins all in the same post! Enjoyed your THINK FOR YOURSELF series. Thanks for the link to WordEyes too. :)

  4. I love this, and I am curious about WordEyes but I keep getting the broken link message.
    :-( Might be my ancient laptop. Loved the Odd Duck review too!

  5. Wonderful selections. Mary Oliver tells me that I don't have to be good. To let the soft animal of my body love what it loves. "Wild Geese" comforts me when I am not feeling worthy. Does that qualify as thinking for yourself?

  6. I'm with Jama, swooning over all of this goodness in one post.

    This is perhaps a very "slant" connection, but I've been mulling over this quote today:
    "Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass." ~Anton Chekhov
    More about showing vs. telling, perhaps, but it's about truth when you get down to it.

  7. I love the poets you gathered, and was so happy to spend some recent time with Emily Dickinson. I love when poets and scientists mix, so I’m inviting Albert Einstein: “Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.”

  8. Mary Lee,

    Love the poems that you shared, especially, "The truth must dazzle gradually, or every man be blind."

    Not sure if this is what you are looking for, but a poem I have used for years is from Shel Silverstein.

    “The Voice

    There is a voice inside of you
    That whispers all day long,
    "I feel this is right for me,
    I know that this is wrong."
    No teacher, preacher, parent, friend
    Or wise man can decide
    What's right for you--just listen to
    The voice that speaks inside.”

    ― Shel Silverstein

  9. Thank you for all you have shared this week, on this very important topic! The comment section has more great wisdom on the subject--thank you, audience : )

    The first thought that came to my mind, is on a red bumper sticker in my office: "What is right is not always popular and what is popular is not always right.” I'm not sure who said this, though, for correct attribution.

    Carol, Thanks for reminding me about the wise words from Shel Silverstein.


  10. Terrific post, Mary Lee!! I am looking forward to checking out Word Eyes. Some quotes: “Dare to love yourself
    as if you were a rainbow
    with gold at both ends.”
    ― Aberjhani
    "The door that nobody else will go in, seems always to swing
    open widely for me."
    - Clara Barton
    "One may have a blazing hearth in one's soul and yet no one ever come to sit by it. Passersby see only a wisp of
    smoke from the chimney and continue on the way.
    - Vincent Van Gogh

    1. Tabatha, I love all those quotes, but Clara Barton, maybe because I've been reading about nurses, brought tears to my eyes. Thank you!

  11. Wonderful post. I ran across this from William Wordsworth recently and I think it fits the question perfectly.

    How does the meadow flower it's bloom unfold?
    Because the lovely little flower is free
    Down to its root, and in that freedom, bold.

  12. Hoo, boy! Flannery cracks me up, Emily is wise, and Gerard is joyful. Thanks for this trio of poetry goodness!

  13. Just came across a quote and thought of you -- glad I came back for more wisdom I missed -- Dori's Wordsworth and others! Thanks for all the affirmation of free thinking. The quote:

    “Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought.” – Albert Szent-Gyorgyi

  14. At first I thought I'd use the THINK FOR YOURSELF books and all of this PF deliciousness to kick off the school year next year (and I still might)...but we have 7 days of school left, and this is the perfect time of year for a personally meaningful (and ungraded) project. Something a creative person does as a matter of fact, but that children need some practice with so that they can discover for themselves the joy of creativity.

    SOOooo...I'm thinking I'll type up all your quotes and the poems, share the three books I reviewed, and then invite my 5th graders to make an illustrated booklet on the theme of THINK FOR YOURSELF. Sort of a letter to themselves for all those times when they're going to get into sticky situations in middle school (and beyond).

    Thank you, all, for your contributions!!

    1. I love this idea! Just the kind of thing I like to do with my Girl Scout troop too.

  15. Amazing post, Mary Lee! Your students are lucky to have you presenting them with this valuable life lesson and creative exercise - fun!

  16. What a great idea and I love how you are going to use all the comment offerings. Have a great close to the year!

  17. I love all these wonderful inspiring words. Here is one of my favorite quotes about thinking for yourself and, in a larger sense, coloring your own destiny:

    “The soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts.” — Marcus Aurelius


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