On this day on 1841 the New Zealand poet and writer Thomas Bracken was born. Bracken emigrated from Ireland aged 12 and did a number of jobs before becoming a successful journalist.
He was also for a time a Member of Parliament and a champion of the Maori people. His poetry soon became noticed and he composed one version of the country’s national anthem, ‘God Defend New Zealand’.
Here is part of one of his poems, Not Understood – I think it is rather fine:
Not understood, we move along asunder;
Our paths grow wider as the seasons creep
Along the years; we marvel and we wonder
Why life is life, and then we fall asleep
Not understood, we gather false impressions
And hug them closer as the years go by;
Till virtues often seem to us transgressions;
And thus men rise and fall, and live and die
Not understood! Poor souls with stunted vision
Oft measure giants with their narrow gauge;
The poisoned shafts of falsehood and derision
Are oft impelled ‘gainst those who mould the age,
Not understood! The secret springs of action
I am come again.
New cares may claim me,
New loves inflame me,
She will not blame me,
But suffer it so.
Today I ask for tolerance for the shortcomings of others and the recognition that true love includes patience and forgiveness.