08 January 2013

The Ambulance In The Valley

 A new semester of school has begun for me. I have some classes that I think will be very helpful for what we're doing here. One of the assignments for a class was to read the poem below.

Joseph Malins (1895)

'Twas a dangerous cliff, as they freely confessed,
Though to walk near its crest was so pleasant;
But over its terrible edge there had slipped
A duke, and full many a peasant.
The people said something would have to be done,
But their projects did not at all tally.
Some said "Put a fence 'round the edge of the cliff,"
Some, "An ambulance down in the valley."

The lament of the crowd was profound and was loud,
As their tears overflowed with their pity;
But the cry for the ambulance carried the day
As it spread through the neighboring city.
A collection was made, to accumulate aid,
And the dwellers in highway and alley
Gave dollars and cents--not to furnish a fence--
But an ambulance down in the valley.

"For the cliff is all right if you're careful," they said;
"And, if folks ever slip and are dropping,
It isn't the slipping that hurts them so much
As the shock down below--when they're stopping."
So for years (we have heard), as these mishaps occurred
Quick forth would the rescuers sally,
To pick up the victims who fell from the cliff,
With the ambulance down in the valley.

Said one, in a plea, "It's a marvel to me
That you'd give so much greater attention
To repairing results than to curing the cause;
You had much better aim at prevention.
For the mischief, of course, should be stopped at its source;
Come, neighbors and friends, let us rally.
It is far better sense to rely on a fence
Than an ambulance down in the valley."

"He is wrong in his head," the majority said,
"He would end all our earnest endeavor.
He's a man who would shirk this responsible work,
But we will support it forever.
Aren't we picking up all, just as fast as they fall,
And giving them care liberally?
A superfluous fence is of no consequence
If the ambulance works in the valley."

But a sensible few, who are practical too,
Will not bear with such nonsense much longer;
They believe that prevention is better than cure,
And their party will soon be much stronger.
Encourage them then, with your purse, voice and pen,
And while other philanthropists dally,
They will scorn all pretense and put up a stout fence
On the cliff that hangs over the valley.

Better guide well the young, than reclaim them when old,
For the voice of true wisdom is calling,
"To rescue the fallen is good, but 'tis best
To prevent other people from falling."
Better close up the source of temptation and crime
Than deliver from dungeon or galley
Better put a strong fence 'round the top of the cliff
Than an ambulance down in the valley.

Cartoon: John Dubord, Ottawa, Canada.

     I think this is a fantastic poem. It is so important in anything we do to be prepared. Having insurance for a home on the coast in a hurricane area is helpful to rebuild, but it does nothing to keep your house from being destroyed. Even in New York City, the officials are trying to find ways to lessen the impact of storms like Sandy.
     For each of us, we can work to build fences. There's no way to prevent every tragedy or disaster, but the more we understand our most pressing hazards, the more we can do to be independently prepared. Thomas S. Monson once said, referring to the Boy Scouts(from whom we take the motto "Be Prepared"), "It is better to build boys than to mend men." We really can do something today to determine the outcome tomorrow.
     I thought this poem was good for many aspects of life, and is certainly applicable to preparedness. I hope you got as much from it as I did.

1 comment :

  1. This is the Perfect poem,putting in a nutshell all that you've been sharing in your blogs.
    How silly it seems that many have a tendency to view things that are distorted in ways that others cannot fathom. When all it would really take is for all to step back and give pause as they consider the answers from another perspective.
    Thanks for shedding some well needed light on preparedness! It is much appreciated!