(Poems/Prose @ www.HappyOtter.Com)
SAIL, DON'T DRIFT
I find the greatest thing in this world not so much where we stand, as in what direction
we are moving. To reach the port of heaven, we must sail sometimes with the wind, and
sometimes against it, but we sail, and not drift, nor live at anchor.
--Oliver Wendell Holmes M.D.
I took a piece of plastic clay
And idly fashioned it one day,
And as my fingers pressed it, still
It bent and yielded to my will.
I came again, when days were passed,
The bit of clay was hard at last,
The form I gave it, still it bore,
But I could change that form no more.
Then I took a piece of living clay
And gently formed it, day by day
And molded with my power and art,
A young child's soft and yielding heart.
I came again when years were gone,
It was a man I looked upon.
He still that early impress bore,
And I could change it, nevermore.
I do not wish to expiate, but to live. My life is not an apology, but a life. It is for itself
and not for a spectacle. I much prefer that it should be a lower strain, so it be genuine
and equal, than that it should be glittering and unsteady...
What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think. This rule, equally
arduous in actual, and in intellectual life, may serve for the whole distinction between
greatness and meanness. It is the harder because you will always find those who think
they know what is your duty better than you know it. It is easy in the world to live after
the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he
who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of
--Ralph Waldo Emerson
AT SET OF SUN
If you sit down at set of sun
And count the acts that you have done,
And, in counting, find
One self-denying deed, one word
That eased the heart of him who heard-
One glance most kind,
That fell like sunshine where it went-
Then you may count that day well spent.
But, if, through all the livelong day,
You've cheered no heart, by yea or nay-
If, through it all
You've nothing done that you can trace
That brought the sunshine to one face-
No act most small
That helped some soul and nothin cost-
Then count that day as worse than lost.
THE SIN 0F OMISSION
It isn't the thing you do, dear,
It's the thing you leave undone
That gives you a bit of a heartache
At setting of the sun.
The tender word forgotten,
The letter you did not write,
The flowers you did not send, dear,
Are your haunting ghosts at night.
The stone you might have lifted
Out of a brother's way;
The bit of heartsome counsel
You were hurried too much to say;
The loving touch of the hand, dear,
The gentle, winning tone
Which you had no time nor thought for
With troubles enough of your own.
Those little acts of kindness
So easily out of mind,
Those chances to be angels
Which we poor mortals find --
They come in night and silence,
Each sad, reproachful wraith,
When hope is faint and flagging,
And a chill has fallen on faith.
For life is all too short, dear,
And sorrow is all too great,
To suffer our slow compassion
That tarries until too late;
And it isn't the thing you do, dear,
It's the thing you leave undone
Which gives you a bit of a heartache
At the setting of the sun.
--Margaret E. Sangster
A smile costs nothing but gives much -
It takes but a moment, but the memory of it usually lasts forever.
None are so rich that can get along without it-
And none are so poor but that can be made rich by it.
It enriches those who receive
Without making poor those who give-
It creates sunshine in the home,
Fosters good will in business
And is the best antidote for trouble-
And yet it cannot be begged, borrowed or stolen, for it is of no value
Unless it is freely given away.
Some people are too busy to give you a smile-
Give them one of yours-
For the good Lord knows that no one needs a smile so badly
As he or she who has no more smiles left to give.
Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are!
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky.
When the blazing sun is set,
When the grass with dew is wet,
Then you show your little light,
Twinkle, twinkle, all the night.
Then the traveler in the dark,
Thanks you for your tiny spark;
He could not see which way to go
If you did not twinkle so.
In the dark blue sky you keep,
And often through my curtains peep,
For you never shut your eye
Till the sun is in the sky.
As your bright and shiny spark,
Lights the traveler in the dark,
Though I know not what you are,
Twinkle, twinkle, little star.
It's doing your job the best you can
And being just to your fellow man;
It's making money-but holding friends
And true to your aims and ends'
It's figuring how and learning why
And looking forward and thinking high
And dreaming a little and doing much.
It's keeping always in closest touch
With what is finest in word and deed;
It's being thorough, yet making speed;
It's daring blithely the field of chance
While making labor a brave romance;
It's going onward despite defeat
And fighting staunchly, but keeping sweet;
It's being clean and it's playing fair;
It's laughing lightly at Dame Despair;
It's looking up at the stars above
And drinking deeply of life and love.
It's struggling on with the will to win
But taking loss with a cheerful grin;
It's sharing sorrow and work and mirth
And making better this good old earth;
It's serving, striving through strain and stress;
It's doing your noblest - that's Success!
I hold no dream of fortune vast,
Nor seek undying fame.
I do not ask when life is past
That many know my name.
I may not own the skill to rise
To glory's topmost height,
Nor win a place among the wise,
But I can keep the right.
And I can live my life on earth
Contented to the end,
If but a few shall know my worth
And proudly call me friend.
--Edgar A. Guest
Success is speaking words of praise,
In cheering other people's ways,
In doing just the best you can,
With every task and every plan,
It's silence when your speech would hurt,
Politeness when your neighbor's curt,
It's deafness when the scandal flows,
And sympathy with others' woes,
It's loyalty when duty calls,
It's courage when disaster falls,
It's patience when the hours are long,
It's found in laughter and in song,
It's in the silent time of prayer,
In happiness and in despair,
In all of life and nothing less,
We find the thing we call success..
To live with small means -- to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather
than fashion, to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not rich -- to study hard, think
quietly, talk gently, act frankly, to listen to stars and birds, babes and sages, with open
heart -- to bear all cheerfully -- do all bravely, await occasions, -- hurry never -- in a
word to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common. This
is to be my symphony.
--William Ellery Channing