That Which We Are, We Are

4 Jun

“That which we are, we are.

One equal temper of heroic hearts,

Made weak by time and fate

But strong of will.

To strive, to seek, to find

And not to yield.”


I memorized those lines from “Ulysses,” the sprawling work by Tennyson, back in my college days.  They spoke to the younger version of me in 1969, and they speak to me today.

The human struggle we all face!

I was about two months removed from losing my father when I read those words.  “And not to yield” . . . my dad always told me growing up to never lose ground, that ground won should never be lost, to never retreat.  Tennyson’s words echoed the words of my dad, and even today they hold special meaning to me.

The human struggle we all face!

For me, as a creative writer, that is what writing is all about.  I seek to tap into that human condition, that human struggle, and give my readers something they can relate to.

For me, as a human being, that is what living is all about. I seek to tap into that human condition, that human struggle, and relate to others based on shared feelings and emotions.

We are all 95% similar and 5% different.

Why do we concentrate so hard on the differences?

Just random thoughts on a Friday morning.

Have a great week! I will leave you with more Tennyson:

“For ever and forever when I move.

How dull it is to pause, to make an end,

To rust unburnish’d, not to shine in use!”



“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

20 Responses to “That Which We Are, We Are”

  1. Janine Huldie June 4, 2019 at 1:56 pm #

    Aw, beautiful words and definitely loved hearing how these words made you feel even closer to your dad even after his passing. Thanks for sharing and Happy Tuesday now, Bill 🙂

    • Billybuc June 4, 2019 at 4:13 pm #

      Thank you Janine! I think those kind of connections last a lifetime, don’t you?

  2. Cecil kingsley hutchinson June 4, 2019 at 2:29 pm #


    This is such an insightful piece!

    Why do we do bad stuff? Perhaps, like me, you read really toxic stuff sometimes … humans fighting each other. So sad! It has nothing to do with politics. We are just still unclean within … still with one foot in the animal kingdom.

    I told the story of the holy man on the river bank who keep taking the scorpion out of the water, even while the scorpion kept on stinging him and his hands bled. When questioned by a promising young seeker, his response was that it was the nature of the scorpion to sting and it was the nature of the God-man to Love. Each must follow his own nature.

    Some of us are like scorpions. All great Spiritual Masters, meet these people when they come to earth. Looks like only Grace will change some souls. Another Brilliant piece!

    • Billybuc June 4, 2019 at 4:13 pm #

      Love is the only answer, Manatita, as you well know. You are a blessing in my life, my friend, and I thank you for that blessing.

  3. explorereikiworld June 4, 2019 at 3:26 pm #

    I agree with your philosophy Bill. We all are alike since our struggles are all the same!!

    I too like to pen my stories around human struggles since I feel it connects us all and yet we are different in many shades of color.

    • Billybuc June 4, 2019 at 4:14 pm #

      Thank you Ruchira! You are a loving person, so it comes as no surprise you understand compassion and empathy.

  4. Lori Colbo June 4, 2019 at 6:57 pm #

    A lovely reflection, Bill. I have to admit I have never read Tennyson but I may look him up at the library. Happy Father’s Day!

    • Billybuc June 5, 2019 at 1:39 pm #

      Some of it is dry and long-winded, Lori, but some is brilliant. Happy Reading!

  5. ericdierker June 5, 2019 at 1:09 am #

    This is in a mail I sent out. Apologies but I love to send snail mail with Kisses and hugs. Electronic is cool but it don’t keep me sober.
    I need some help soon on biographies.
    Nice how who said this. Cuz i is what i is.

    • Billybuc June 5, 2019 at 1:35 pm #

      God, Eric, I don’t remember the last time I sent snail mail. Truth be told, I have nerve damage in my writing hand and can’t really write at all. It just ends up gibberish, which is one of my favorite words.

  6. Sageleaf June 5, 2019 at 2:52 am #

    95% similar. This is where – especially with differing points of view – I try to find the common ground. The other day I was chatting with someone in my family who is pretty much opposite me politically. I worked to find the common ground. We didn’t get off the phone having any kind of consensus, but I’d like to think that at least I made the person ponder our similarities a little more rather than our differences. Always love your posts, Big Bro. They provide such good food for thought. 🙂

    • Billybuc June 5, 2019 at 1:34 pm #

      Common ground, Lil Sis! Sometimes it is hard to find, but it is there. I love that you took the time to try and find it with that member of your family. I need to work harder on that. I tend to lose my patience and throw up my hands in frustration…not a good recipe for common ground. 🙂 Hugs heading your way.

  7. 1authorcygnetbrown June 8, 2019 at 12:43 am #

    It is interesting that we look at things that are different from ourselves as negative or inferior. I guess, sadly, that it is just a part of the human condition.

    • Billybuc June 8, 2019 at 2:12 pm #

      Perhaps it is,Donna, and that is profoundly sad.

  8. Sue Dreamwalker June 8, 2019 at 1:12 pm #

    Loved your words here Bill.. The poetry also speaks deeply to me.

    Writing can be used as great tool to use in uniting thoughts, Yet we often see it abused in its biased opinions to create further rifts and divisions, of side taking and labelling.

    We are all entitled to our opinions, so don’t get me wrong there, if we were all meant to think the same, what a boring world that would be, we all have our various perspectives on certain issues and subjects..

    But what I see happening though more and more, is that our opinions are being eroded, no longer can we express our thoughts before they are labelled, and compartmentalised which are then censored because they do not fit a certain category of mainstream thinking.

    Our opinions and writings then are outlawed as we are then given labels of Truth Seekers, or Conspiracy theorists. When we challenge the establishment.

    What is scary now within the world of words, is that I see more and more labels and those whom are wishing to share the two sides of the coin of those who struggle and that of those who thrive are having their free speech to voice their opinions curtailed..

    I see more and more being silenced this way Bill..

    Why do we concentrate on our differences!… Because to Divide us, is to Conquer Us..

    And loved these last lines of the Poem Bill…..

    But strong of will.

    To strive, to seek, to find

    And not to yield.”…..

    Have a great weekend too Bill, and great article.. 🙂

    • Billybuc June 8, 2019 at 2:10 pm #

      Sue, I totally agree with all you said. I don’t recognize this country I grew up in. I’ve seen a lot of years here in the U.S. and never have I seen such divisiveness. It seems impossible to find common ground with those who disagree with me on issues. If there is no compromise, all that remains is constant division, name-calling, and ultimately violence, which we see daily here.

      I don’t even watch the daily news. I can’t. It’s too upsetting.Who is their right mind would want that poison to infiltrate their home daily?

      Maybe I’ve just lived too long, my friend.

      And yet to give up is not an option!

      Thank you! Have a peaceful, loving weekend.


      • Sue Dreamwalker June 8, 2019 at 2:17 pm #

        Agreed Bill, I feel for the younger generation to come .. And I am pleased I am as old as I am.
        Compromise is not a word many want to hear. like you I avoid the media news as much as is possible.. Politics here in the UK is a shambles because everyone is on their own agenda spouting their own opinions forgetting they should be representing the majority of voters.
        We are in for some shocking times, if people cannot over come their differences and unite.
        Off to a Flower Show tomorrow Bill.. So looking forward to my annual connection with so many wonderful gardens and flowers.. Hope to share some on my garden blog soon.. ❤ 🙂

      • Billybuc June 8, 2019 at 2:20 pm #

        That sounds like a wonderful way to spend a Sunday,Sue! Enjoy!

  9. Shell Vera August 2, 2019 at 1:42 am #

    Love this, Bill! “We are all 95% similar and 5% different.” So true!!

    • Billybuc August 2, 2019 at 1:48 pm #

      Not bad percentages, eh?

      Thank you Shell!

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