Not Understood Poem by Thomas Bracken

Not Understood

Rating: 3.4

Not understood, we move along asunder;
Our paths grow wider as the seasons creep
Along the years; we marvel and we wonder
Why life is life, and then we fall asleep
Not understood.

Not understood, we gather false impressions
And hug them closer as the years go by;
Till virtues often seem to us transgressions;
And thus men rise and fall, and live and die
Not understood.

Not understood! Poor souls with stunted vision
Oft measure giants with their narrow gauge;
The poisoned shafts of falsehood and derision
Are oft impelled 'gainst those who mould the age,
Not understood.

Not understood! The secret springs of action
Which lie beneath the surface and the show,
Are disregarded; with self-satisfaction
We judge our neighbours, and they often go
Not understood.

Not understood! How trifles often change us!
The thoughtless sentence and the fancied slight
Destroy long years of friendship, and estrange us,
And on our souls there falls a freezing blight;
Not understood.

Not understood! How many breasts are aching
For lack of sympathy! Ah! day by day
How many cheerless, lonely hearts are breaking!
How many noble spirits pass away,
Not understood.

O God! that men would see a little clearer,
Or judge less harshly where they cannot see!
O God! that men would draw a little nearer
To one another, -- they'd be nearer Thee,
And understood.

John Sands 27 December 2007

This was the first poem that I ever heard and learnt. My father taught it to me when I was just a little boy and it has had a profound impact on my life. I am now 59 years old.

7 1 Reply
Jon L 08 June 2005

Found this poem in the back of my Grandmothers bible (1912) In a time of great trials, I loved it.

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Tony Allen 31 January 2018

This was on my mothers side board inn her bedroom for about 40 years. I have it now at my house and also passed it onto my grandchildren.

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Sondra McKelvey 02 December 2017

My grandfather (1900-1983) had this poem, copied in his own hand and committed to memory, among his personal papers. Well-read and well-worn, it was a favorite of his and one of his favorites he would recite to grandchildren.

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Margaret Lynch. 11 May 2020

My Dad was an appreciator of the classics and so from an early age he encouraged me to learn a poem a week by heart, and repeat it to him at the end of this time. Only now as I grow older do I understand " Not Understood" .

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Martyn Robinson 20 April 2020

My Mother, Roma Clarence Delma, Robinson (Née Lindale) had this as a booklet in her dresser drawer. Periodically I recall the day I found it as a young boy. The memory of it prompted me to search and read the poem and learn of its writer. At 76 I am reflecting on where I am in life’s journey. Thomas Bracken’s sentiments clearly had significance for my Mother which now I understand!

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Cheryl ashby 02 March 2020

Very insightful, written with the wisdom of life.

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Judith Harper 06 February 2019

This is such a thoughtful and meaningful poem, sometimes uplifting and sometimes almost depressing. Reading about Thomas Bracken's life helps gives an insight into what he may have been thinking. He died in his late 50's and had spent the second half of his life in New Zealand where he also composed the poem which would become our national anthem, God Defend New Zealand

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jon williams 26 July 2018

My dear Grandmother had this framed poem on her dressing table when I was a small child. I have only now, at 80 years of age realised the full significance of NOT UNDERSTOOD.

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Thomas Bracken

Thomas Bracken

Clones, County Monaghan
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