heatherfromthegrove’s poetry spotlight for today: “Forgiveness” by John Greenleaf Whittier


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As we wrap up poetry week @ heatherfromthegrove, enjoy this last one.

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by John Greenleaf Whittier


John Greenleaf Whittier born on December 17, 1807, in Haverhill, Massachusetts – dubbed as one of the “Fireside Poets“, this American Quaker was an ardent and vocal advocate for the abolition of slavery.  His first poem was published in 1826, in a publication called the Newburyport Free Press.  The paper’s editor was abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison and it was Garrison who encouraged Whittier to take up the abolitionist cause – which he did on a local, state and national level.  He was involved with the formation of the Republican party and was keenly engaged in politics.  Whittier edited papers in Boston and Hartford (Connecticut) and – from 1857 until his death on September 7, 1892 – he was associated with the magazine, Atlantic Monthly.

Forgiveness although famous for his lengthy poems, the most popular being Snow-Bound: A Winter Idyll, this poem is one of his shortest and is often quoted because of its quiet but clear message of “forgive those who trespass against us.”  Only when we forgive, can we truly heal.  Forgiveness is freeing. And, to quote a line from the Prayer of  St. Francis, “It is in pardoning that we are pardoned.”  

Poem via poemhunter.com.

Image via pimminag.com.

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