I am calling my blog site Golden Sand for several reasons. Many years ago, I spoke to a graduating class of Phillips University seniors in Enid, Oklahoma and wrote a poem entitled: “Golden Sand.” It seemed appropriate that I could present that poem in a very modified form when I spoke to fellow Peace Corps inductees and guests at the U.S. Embassy in Kingston, Jamaica on May 21, 2010. Several of my fellow Group 81 Peace Corps Volunteers have been asking me for a copy of my brief remarks, so I thought I would print those remarks in my blog.
Imagine the writer, Edgar Allen Poe, standing by the ocean, desperately trying to hold on to the “golden sand” of life when he wrote:
“I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore
And I hold within my hand,
Grains of the golden sand–
How few, yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep…”
(poem lines omitted here)
“Is all that we see or seem,
…But a dream within a dream.”
In reply to Poe and dedicated to the energetic, creative and hard-working 81st Group of U.S. Peace Corps trainees serving in Jamaica, I would reply with the following poem entitled “Golden Sand.”
With pockets full of golden sand.
Down rutted roads to nearby towns and hamlets,
‘Cross lush green valleys and hyacinth-laden streams,
Perhaps reef waters or rural lands will call you,
As you journey through Jamaica
With your dreams.
Expend your working days among the weary,
Give strength and hope to those at every door,
Until one day with pockets almost empty,
You arrive, fulfilled,
Beside a tideless shore.
Then turn and glimpse the pathway
You have followed,
And much to your amazement
You will see–
A trail of golden sand
Amid the laughter and the fears,
A reminder of your life-long legacy.
The time of our individual Peace Corps journeys in Jamaica is about to begin, and there are many people we want to thank today–our Jamaican teachers and instructors, our host families and new host agencies, all current Peace Corps volunteers, and every member of the Peace Corp-Jamaica staff. Two years from now, in 2012, on the 50th Anniversary of the U.S. Peace Corps in Jamaica, may our heartfelt thanks be borne out in our actions and work with the school children, families, and people of Jamaica. Looking back then, I believe we will all discover that there are many intersecting trails of golden sand… found all across the island of Jamaica.
These Peace Corps induction remarks were presented on May 21, 2010.
p.s. For some odd reason, the poem, “Golden Sand” keeps double-spacing between each line…so please know that the poem is actually written in four, blank verse stanzas…or at least that is the way I would have preferred it to be.
Until the next time, all the best to family and friends from Montego Bay, Jamaica.