Weekly Poem – Monday 24th June 2013


Hello Everyone!

Over the next four weeks I hope we will be setting off on an exciting journey together as I will be sending out poems that I feel somehow relate to the four principal values that Plus Dane champion as an organisation – Passion, Innovation, Excellence and Respect. These are big, inspirational and important words and I hope the selected poems help to further develop both our thinking and implementation of them in our own working and personal lives in ways that are translatable to ourselves.

Today I have taken the first of the Plus Dane values – Passion – and have matched it with the inspirational poem ‘We Live in Deeds, not Years’ by Phillip James Bailey (1816-1902).

We Live In Deeds, Not Years

We live in deeds, not years; in thoughts, not breaths;

In feelings, not in figures on a dial.

We should count time by heart-throbs. He most lives

Who thinks most, feels the noblest, acts the best.

And he whose heart beats quickest lives the longest:

Lives in one hour more than in years do some

Whose fat blood sleeps as it slips along their veins.

Life’s but a means unto an end; that end,

Beginning, mean, and end to all things—God.

The dead have all the glory of the world.


Now whilst I’m not religious in any way and therefore personally might have to think of another equivalent to make sense of the word ‘God’ in the poem for me as it were, I am drawn to the poem’s passion for life – for each individual living life to the fullest possible minute, and doing so through what they think, feel and do in life. ‘We live in deeds, not years; in thoughts, not breaths;/ In feelings, not in figures on a dial.’ These lines speak to me and do make me think about how the value of Passion may be important in our lives.

We at The Reader, for example, are all very passionate about what we do and I think many of us would relate to that idea of bringing your whole self to your work – feeling about your work as well as thinking about it, and doing the thing with all of those feelings and thoughts in tow. We also see first hand every day in our shared reading groups how one person can feel, talk and thereby do more in that hour than they might have done during their while week. I guess if you are passionate about something, an intense quality of experience or product is bound to happen?

I would love to know what you think. Were there any lines in the poem that spoke to you? Is there anything in the poem that makes you reflect upon your own professions and working lives? Or perhaps you can recommend another poem that speaks to the importance of Passion in the workplace as in life?

Please do get in touch to share your thoughts. Post something on our blog or if you prefer you can email me direct at clareellis@thereader.org.uk.