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A Psalm of Life by Henry Longfellow

            Imagine someone being convicted of a crime and being sentenced to twenty years in prison. Consider how different their life would be after being exiled from the outside world. Their family members may pass away, other family members and friends may move on, and technology will become more advanced. These are just a few of the many things these individuals will be deprived of. This leaves the incarcerated individual with several choices to make. They may choose to continue the mindset and behavior which led them to their current incarceration. They may also choose to blame society for their life of crime. A more sensible choice, and the goal of our judicial system, is that they accept responsibility for their actions, repent, and re-enter society as a productive citizen. As the criminal is about to be released from prison, I would offer the poem "A Psalm of Life" written by Henry Longfellow. .
             The piece "A Psalm of Life" is a beautiful and truly inspiring poem. Longfellow's main intention and purpose for writing this piece is to convince the reader to continuously become a better person, so that they can provide a benefit for others. In my opinion, this poem would be the best piece to offer a criminal returning to society after twenty years of incarceration. "Let us, then, be up and doing, with a heart for any fate; still achieving, still pursuing, learning to labor and wait". (145, lines 34-36) This quote is great advice for a criminal re-entering society, as well as any individual. The speaker is encouraging the reader to keep striving to pursue and achieve their goals, no matter what happens. In this case, the criminal has been faced with many hardships throughout his time in prison. However, this quote encourages him to continually work towards making himself a better person. Also, "But to act, that each to-morrow find us father than to-day". (145, lines 11-12) The speaker encourages the reader to act in a way that they achieve more tomorrow than they did today.

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