If I can stop one heart from breaking
I shall not live in vain
If I can ease one Life the Aching
Or cool one Pain
Or help one fainting Robin
Unto his Nest again
I shall not live in vain.
At the heart of this poem is the longing for purpose, the search for significance. Purpose is not always found in the earth-moving or phenomenal acts of greatness on an epic level. The root of purpose can be found in the most basic, every-day decisions. It begins with the smallest of acts when no one is watching or would care. These silent, otherwise unknown acts are the foundations upon which all the rest of one's character is built.
This speaker desperately seeks to make an imprint upon another, to make even the smallest difference. It is the echo of Mother Teresa's famous line: "Kindness is a language we all understand. Even the blind can see it and the deaf can hear it." The smallest gift of kindness can reap exponential rewards, can begin a chain reaction. But that chain must begin somewhere, and the speaker in this poem asserts that it will begin with him or her. Without a purpose, some might argue without a meaningful purpose, life becomes an unbearable burden and loses its meaning.