Little I Ask

The Idiot

Prince Mueschken,

In Dostoyevky’s The Idiot,

Was so humble,

He never presumed to ask

For anything, even what

He desperately needed.


The poem, “Contentment”,

By Oliver Wendell Holmes,

Says, “Little I ask, my wants are few.”


Sometimes I’m that way.

I do and do for others,

And never think of myself.

I don’t think of my needs,


No matter how important.

This goes past humility

Into self-hatred, I think.

Into stupidity, such a shame.



Carry on Tuesday plus #113


Author: Gordon S. Bowman III

Writer, Visual Artist, Blogger, Advocate

10 thoughts on “Little I Ask”

  1. Awwww That’s sad. You know, the saying: “You can’t love anyone, unless you first love yourself.” I used to think it was so me, me, me and self-centered, until I grew older and wiser and realised that the saying is quite right.
    You need to value yourself, you are a person of great worth and you matter in this world because without your role in it, so many, many lives would be affected. Think about it. Your family, friends, co-workers, everyone you interact with on a day to day basis, the people here who read you, all of their lives would be changed, forever.
    Please, see, you are a person of worth. And if this was simply poetic expression of a mood, then well written because, you got me.!

    1. Thank you for your encouragement, Daydreamer. This was partially an expression of mood, but also a reflection on the past as a people pleaser. I still do it sometimes, but not as much as I used to. Of course, apathy has a place in that, too, which, I know can be just as or more dangerous.

  2. Okay, I have to say I love this poem, simply because you mention The Idiot. Love that novel and Dostoevsky is one of my favorite writers. Haven’t read it in forever, though. It was sad and at the same time honorable that he couldn’t handle the cold calculation of the world and society where everyone uses everyone else for their own gain. Anyway, good poem and it’s interesting to think about that not taking time to consider one’s own needs can actually be a negative thing. Usually, I like to think if one doesn’t want anything, then they are content. But it could be that they are depressed, or it could be that they want something but are choosing not to voice it as they feel it would inconvenience others. It is interesting how someone who never says “no” to any request is at first viewed as if they are great people and later on is viewed as a doormat or as someone who has no self-respect. In moderation self-denial can be admirable, but in excess it’s not so appealing. This can be applied to so many characteristics and qualities.

    Oh, and if you like Oliver Wendall Holmes, you might like The Dante Club by Matthew Pearl. It’s a fictional mystery involving Holmes, Longfellow and Dante’s Inferno. 🙂

    1. Thanks for your comments, Pixie. I enjoy Dostoyevsky as well. In fact, one Christmas I gave every one in my family a different book by Dostoyevsky! I have probably read more about him than by him, but I’m working on that. I agree with your analysis and that moderation is the key. I’m working on that, although I tend to be very critical of myself and sensitive to every little fault. Something else to work on, I guess.

      Thanks for stopping by and for your recommendation. I will definitely look that book up.

  3. It’s true, so easy to get caught up in doing for others that you neglect yourself. It’s good tht you see that tendncy which is the first step to turning it around.

    1. Thank you, Nara. I appreciate the affirmation. Neglect is the right word, too. It’s not the doing for others that is the problem, it is the neglect of self. Thanks.

  4. I do and do for others,
    And never think of myself.
    I don’t think of my needs

    This resonates with me … I am learning the importance of balance on both ends.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Becca. Glad you can relate. And you’re right, balance is the key. Balance is necessary in all things, or we are consumed by one end or the other. Thanks for your insight.

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