Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Race - A Poem

Part 1:
“Quit! Give up! You’re beaten!”
They shout out and plead.
“There’s just too much against you now,
This time you can’t succeed!”

And as I start to hang my head
In front of failure’s face,
My downward fall is broken by
The memory of a race.

And hope refills my weakened will
As I recall that scene;
For just the thought of that short race
Rejuvenates by being.

Part 2:
A children’s race – young boys, young men
How I remember well.
Excitement, sure, but also fear;
It wasn’t’ hard to tell.

They all lined up so full of hope;
Each thought to win the race,
Or tie for first, or if not that,
At least take second place.

And fathers watched from off the side,
Each cheering for his son,
And each boy hoped to show his dad
That he would be the one.

The whistle blew and off they went,
Young hearts and hopes afire!
To win, to be the hero there,
Was each young boy’s desire.

And one boy in particular
Whose dad was in the crowd,
Was running near the lead and thought
“My dad will be so proud!”

But as he sped down the field
Across a shallow dip,
The little boy who thought to win,
Lost his step and slipped.

Trying hard to catch himself
His hands flew out to brace,
And mid the laughter of the crowd,
He fell flat on is face.

But as he fell, his dad stoop up
And showed his anxious face,
Which to the boy so clearly said,
“Get up and win the race!”

He quickly rose, no damage done,
Behind a bit, that’s all –
And ran with all his mind and might
To make up for his fall.

So anxious to restore himself
To catch up and to win,
His mind went faster than he legs;
He slipped and fell again!

He wished that he had quit before
With only one disgrace.
“I’m hopeless as a runner now;
I shouldn’t try to race.”

But in the laughing crowd he searched
And found his father’s face,
That steady look which said again,
“Get up and win the race!”

So he jumped up to try again,
Ten yards behind the last –
“If I’m to gain those yards,” he thought,
“I’ve got to move real fast.”

Exerting everything he had
He gained eight or ten,
But trying so hard to catch the lead,
He slipped and fell again!

Defeat! He lay there silently
A tear dropped from his eye
“There’s no sense running anymore;
Three strikes, I’m out, why try?”

The will to try had disappeared
All hope had fled away;
So far behind, so error prone,
A loser all the way.

“I’ve lost; so what’s the use,” he thought.
“I’ll live with my disgrace.”
But then he thought about his dad
Whom soon he’d have to face.

“Get up!” an echo sounded low.
“Get up and take your place.
You were not meant for failure here.
Get up and win the race!”

With borrowed will, “Get up,” it said,
“You haven’t lost at all.
For winning is not more than this –
To rise each time you fall.”

So up he rose to win once more,
And with new commit,
He resolved that win or lose,
At least he wouldn’t quit.

So far behind the others now
The most he’d ever been
Still he gave it all he had
And ran as though to win.

Three times he’d fallen stumbling,
Three times he’d rose again,
Too far behind to hope to win
He still ran to the end.

They cheered the winning runner
As he crossed first place,
Head high, proud and happy,
No falling, no disgrace.

But when the fallen youngster
Crossed the line, last place,
The crowd gave him the greater cheer
For finishing the race.

And even though he came in last
With head bowed low, un-proud,
You would have thought he won the race
Just listening to the crowd.

And to his dad he sadly said,
“I didn’t do so well.”
“To me you won,” his father said.
“You rose each time you fell!”

Taken from by Miss Antebi


  1. Fabulous Poem!
    While I was reading it, I was thinking of how to apply it as mashal in our lives. Whenever we lose hope in something or thinking to give up, don't despair! Hashem is like the father who is watching you and wanting you to move on, no matter what. So think to yourself, whenever you feel stuck- What does Hashem want me to do now? How can I make my father proud? Because a real winner doesn't give up! What matters is, all the work it takes to get to the finish line. And all the work you put in to reach any goal in life! And When you try, Hashem will help!
    And even if you try and fail, DON'T FAIL TO TRY AGAIN!!! because again- a winner is someone who will break through and continue going even if it's hard and even if they fail... Because all the work he put in is what really counts!!! :)

  2. Thank you for posting that poem!! Myprincipal read it to my school last year and it made an incredibly lasting impression on all of us. The repetition of falling and getting back up makes it really stick in the mind as a lesson. You'll fall
    and fall
    and fall
    and fall
    and fall...

    But youll get back up! Because you have a Cheerleader.

  3. smiley-wow, that's a great day to make the mashal apply to us as well! No matter what happens we should never give up - especially when we know that we will have to face Hashem at the end of the "race"-our time here on earth which is full of challenges, where we keep on falling but MUST get up again!

    tamar-thanks, that's really true. Keeping the Cheerleader in mind will help us stand up again every time we fall.
    May you all be able to rise every time you fall and learn from your mistakes!

  4. The story of my life. Thank you God for being there.

  5. Loved it. Such a great lesson to be learned from this.


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