I came across the poem I’m using this year in a small volume of poetry that I acquired a number of years ago. I’ve never been very much into poetry, and doing this is definitely outside of my comfort zone. But that could be the best reason for doing it, in the end. Pushing ourselves beyond what we know cannot be a bad thing, or else we’d never get to anyplace new.
The obscurity of Frank Lebby Stanton, and an eccentric poem that he wrote more than a century ago, makes Keep a-Goin’ the perfect fit for me. If you’re going to bother someone else by reading them a poem, three stanzas is about as much of an opening as you’re likely to get. And Stanton’s dialect is something else this poem has going for it. But the poem’s message–that perseverance is needed, whatever life may throw at you–is the real reason why I chose it. It speaks to me and perhaps it will speak to others, as well.
To the people of Boston, and everyone else who has suffered disappointments or setbacks recently, I offer Frank Lebby Stanton’s simple, yet unmistakable words of advice: Keep a’ goin’!