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I wish I could remember any of the thoughts that have drifted through my head but alas, they have been obscured by the white noise that is buzzing in my brain. It’s like a station on an old tv or a radio dial that isn’t tuned in quite right…static-y and snow-y and crackle-y…that’s the state of my brain. I don’t know that this qualifies as a summer cold but it sucks nonetheless. So instead of continuing to pathetically string together more than a couple of coherent sentences, I leave you with this poem. I love it and everything it says.

The Difference He Made

By Randy Poole*

Amidst the morning mist of the swift returning tide
I set out on my daily run, my walkman on my side.
Lost within my private world apart from cares and woes
I ran along the moistened shore, the sand between my toes.

In the distance, I saw a boy, as busy as can be.
He was running, stooping, picking up, and tossing in the sea.
Just what he threw, I couldn’t tell, I looked as I drew near.
It seemed to be a rock or shell—as I approached him I could hear:

“Back you go, where you belong.  You’re safe now hurry home.
Your family’s waiting for you little starfish, hurry on!”
It seemed the evening tide had washed the starfish on the shore,
And the swift receding water left a thousand there or more.

And this self-appointed savior, was trying one-by-one
To toss them back into the sea, against the racing sun.
I saw his plight was hopeless, that most of them would die.
I called out from my private world, “Hey Kid, why even try?”

“Must be at least a thousand here, strewn along the beach,
And even if you had the time, most you’ll never reach.
You really think it makes a difference, to waste your time this way?”
And then I paused and waited, just to hear what he would say.

He stooped and took another, and looked me in the eye.
“It makes a difference to this one sir, this starfish will not die!”
With that, he tossed the little life, back where there was hope.
He stooped to take another.  I could tell this was no joke.

The words that he spoke to me cut like a surgeon’s knife.
Where I saw only numbers, he saw only life.
He didn’t see the multitude of starfish on the sand.
He only saw the little life he held there in his hand.

He didn’t stop to argue, to prove that he was right.
He just kept tossing starfish in the sea with all his might.
So I too stooped, and I picked up, and I tossed into the sea,
And I thought, just what a difference, that this boy has made in me.

*I can neither confirm nor deny the original source of this poem but have never seen it credited to anyone else.

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