Born in Bartow, Florida in 1961, Dr. Douglas Young was reared a faculty brat in Athens, Georgia before becoming a full-time professional nerd himself. He taught political science and history at Gordon College in Barnesville, Georgia from 1987 to 1999. He then taught at Gainesville State College in Gainesville, Georgia from 1999 to 2013, and he taught at the University of North Georgia-Gainesville from 2013 to the end of 2020 where he also advised UNG’s multiple award-winning Politically Incorrect and Chess Clubs. His essays and poems have appeared in a variety of publications, and his first novel, Deep in the Forest, is set to be published in 2021.
A Life Worthwhile
How I want a life worthwhile,
Full of purpose, without guile,
Big on substance, swell in style,
Worth study, not just to file.
Jump up to arise each day,
Not sighing or just okay,
Eager for work, but still enjoying play,
Believing something, not just to say.
Having a mission, being needed,
Respected, and feeling completed;
Challenged, yet still excelling,
Focused, a life compelling.
Seeking, exploring, embracing risks,
Savoring life like a lobster bisque;
Having the courage to stare down my fears,
Determined to never regret past years.
Sculpting my flaws into fine features,
I refuse to sit in the bleachers;
Mindful that this life is all we know,
So I make it one whale of a show.
Achieving the joy of hard-earned success,
But being grateful for how I’m blessed;
Always make time to relish beauty,
And help others, for that’s my duty.
When darkness comes, drown in the cheerful;
Don’t dwell among doubts and the tearful;
Be a beacon to light others’ way,
Not a gray cloud, but a bright spring day.
Stay true to my conscience every time,
For nothing’s as treasured as peace of mind;
Fun is fab, but contentment is the goal,
So honor my values to keep my soul.
And never waste time
Since this life’s a cheat;
No matter how long we wish to climb,
It will all vanish in a heartbeat.
Intense faces all around:
Black, white, yellow and brown;
High expectations mixed with the mundane –
No matter the motive, get to that plane.
We fervently cling to the notion
That the solution is in motion;
So everyone’s in a hurry --
So focused, with no time to worry.
If we just get to our destination, and on time,
Somehow everything will work out and even rhyme;
Getting there is the key, and don’t be late;
Be decisive and never hesitate.
So we rush through the airport just like ants,
Going the same way, doing the same dance;
God forbid we stop, relax, and reflect
Since the answer’s out there, don’t you expect?
Travel teaches there are fine folks everywhere
And many means for the circle to get the square;
But, no matter how far we fly or in which direction,
The answer is found only within, through introspection.
I fear oversleeping, and not sleeping enough,
I fear lingering doubts – most unpleasant stuff,
I fear being late to work, as well as a speeding ticket,
Plus a terrible wreck, and ending up like a crushed cricket.
I fear unwanted mail and busy work I abhor,
New unpleasant distractions and yet another chore;
I fear my lecture is boring, seeing a student yawn,
Noticing someone check his watch and wishing he was gone.
I fear the lecture going long or making a mistake;
What if I say something “offensive,” drawing a complaint?
I fear talking too fast and leaving some confused,
Or being biased and earning awful reviews.
Did I look at that student too long?
Did my joke get nearly enough laughs?
Was going off on those tangents wrong?
Have I provided sufficient facts?
Did I eat too much today?
Will I start to put on weight?
Is having meat really the right way?
Will I be condemned for what I ate?
Do I meet obligations
And obey the Golden Rule,
Tell the truth sans obfuscations,
Do what is right and not just cool?
Am I fulfilling my potential?
Do I contribute all I can?
Is my life beneficial?
Am I a strong Christian man?
Will I be a disappointment?
Will my dear ones withdraw their love?
Is this life about enjoyment?
Is there even a God above?
My life has been ruled by fear,
The one constant always here:
Confidence is the missing piece in my puzzle,
The elixir I’d most like to find and guzzle;
How I would treasure even a modest supply
To reduce the fear and provide a lot more why.
A Surprise Visitor
While writing in a Paris hotel room,
Suddenly there was scratching at the door;
It grew intense, as if fleeing doom,
And seemed to be coming from the floor.
Going outside to see what was about,
A cat darted in, and gave me a pout;
Inspecting the scene, it looked here and there,
As if harboring not a single care.
The cat leisurely checked every bag,
Curiously sniffing each little tag;
Then she leapt on the desk for a better view,
And soon jumped again to peruse the bed, too.
Accepting my good will without a doubt,
She sat by a pillow and soon stretched out;
I plopped beside her to pet her pretty fur,
While the cat grew quite still and started to purr.
As she blissfully slept, I just continued writing
And Petite stayed put since there was nothing exciting;
How keen to choose any room for a free massage and nap,
And never have to worry about a burglary rap.
Many hours later, when I returned from dinner,
The cat showed no more worries than a just-saved sinner;
Looking up from bed, she gave her best yawn
Since she couldn’t care less where I had gone.
When I settled into bed, she slept by my leg,
Remaining immovable, like a big warm egg;
What confidence to sleep over wherever you please –
How exquisite to enjoy a life of so much ease!
Before dawn came more scratching at the door
Since my little friend now found me a bore;
She danced out of the room without even turning around,
As if on a highway, and I was just another town.
So what to learn from this carefree cat?
Cast out concerns like an old torn hat?
Let’s just relax more and dare to explore,
For time retreats and then there is no more.
As my leaves begin to brown,
I want ever more to plant my tree,
Big, bold, tall, and sound,
Inspiring others and outlasting me.
Wandering graveyards and reading dates,
Lives are reduced to names and mates,
Noting whose plots are well kept
And whose are now decrepit.
How soon dear ones who’ve died at work
Are fast forgotten, no matter the hurt,
As carefully crafted castles along the shore
Are soon leveled by waves with nary a roar.
We’re brief “Here”s in the roll call of time,
Small cameos in a film that won’t rewind,
For even a Victorian home bulldozed for an office,
In a few years is all but forgotten.
So how best to lay down a legacy,
Deep-rooted in spite of me,
A homerun record that won’t be broken,
A souvenir to keep, not some token?
For even Ozymandias got overtaken by time,
Since statues become challenges for children to climb.
As sidewalk chalk marks get erased by rain,
So last year’s bird’s nest is never used again.
Yet values last as timeless truths,
And a kindness delivered can’t be diluted.
All the good we do
Can inspire others, too.
Good (and bad) deeds
Plant many strong seeds
As we provide much of the toil
That helps till the youths’ soil.
If we want our values remembered
Long after our lives are surrendered,
We should grab every chance to help others,
Spreading the gospel that we’re all brothers.
True teachers are preachers of ideas,
Not selfishly promoting themselves,
But inspiring students to be pioneers,
Not conformist little elves.
As promoters of principles and dreams,
We can impact way more than it seems.
So work hard and celebrate what’s profound
To leave a legacy that’s good and sound.