(Poems/Prose  @ www.HappyOtter.Com)


MY WAGE

I bargained with Life for a penny,
And Life would pay no more,
However I begged at evening
When I counted my scanty store;

For Life is a just employer,
He gives you what you ask,
But once you have set the wages,
Why, you must bear the task.

I worked for a menial's hire,
Only to learn, dismayed,
That any wage I had asked of Life,
Life would have paid.

--J.B. Rittenhouse


WHAT CAN I DO?

What can I do? I can talk out when others are silent. I can say man when others say money. I can stay up when others are asleep. I can keep on working when others have stopped to play. I can give life big meanings when others give life little meanings. I can say love when others say hate. I can say every man when others say one man. I can try events by a hard test when others try it by an easy test. What can I do? I can give myself to life when other men refuse themselves to life.

--Horace Traubel


WHERE THERE'S A WILL THERE'S A WAY

We have faith in old proverbs full surely,
For Wisdom has traced what they tell,
And Truth may be drawn up as purely
From them, as it may from "a well."
Let us question the thinkers and doers,
And hear what they honestly say;
And you'll find they believe, like bold wooers,
In "Where there's a will there's a way."

The hills have been high for man's mounting,
The woods have been dense for his axe,
The stars have been thick for his counting,
The sands have been wide for his tracks,
The sea has been deep for his diving,
The poles have been broad for his sway,
But bravely he's proved in his striving,
That "Where there's a will there's a way."

Have ye vices that ask a destroyer?
Or passions that need your control?
Let Reason become your employer,
And your body be ruled by your soul.
Fight on, though ye bleed in the trial,
Resist with all strength that ye may;
Ye may conquer Sin's host by denial;
For "Where there's a will there's a way."

Have ye Poverty's pinching to cope with?
Does Suffering weigh down your might?
Only call up a spirit to hope with,
And dawn may come out of the night.
Oh! much may be done by defying
The ghosts of Despair and Dismay;
And much may be gained by relying
On "Where there's a will there's a way."

Should ye see, afar off, that worth winning,
Set out on the journey with trust;
And ne'er heed if your path at beginning
Should be among brambles and dust.
Though it is but by footsteps ye do it,
And hardships may hinder and stay;
Walk with faith, and be sure you'll get through it
For "Where there's a will there's a way."

-Eliza Cook


A WISE OLD OWL

A wise old owl sat on an oak,
The more he saw the less he spoke;
The less he spoke the more he heard;
Why aren't we like that wise old bird?

--Edward Hersey Richards


WISE WASTING OF DAYS

To awaken each morning with a smile brightening my face, to greet the day with reverence, for the opportunities it contains; to approach my work with a clean mind; to hold ever before me, even in the doing of little things, the Ultimate Purpose toward which I am working; to meet men and women with laughter on my lips and love in my heart, to be gentle, kind and courteous through all the hours; to approach the night with weariness that ever woos sleep and the joy that comes from work well done -- this is how I desire to waste wisely my days.

--Thomas Dekker


THE WORLD NEEDS

A little more kindness and a little less creed,
A little more giving and a little less greed;
A little more smile and a little less frown,
A little less kicking a man when he's down;
A little more "we" and a little less "I,"
A little more laugh and a little less cry;
A few more flowers on the pathway of life,
And fewer on graves at the end of the strife.

--Unknown


THE WORLD WE MAKE

We make the world in which we live
By what we gather and what we give,
By our daily deeds and the things we say,
By what we keep or we cast away.

We make our world by the beauty we see
In a skylark's song or lilac tree,
In a butterfly's wing, in the pale moons' rise,
And the wonder that lingers in midnight skies.

We make our world by the life we lead,
By the friends we have, by the books we read,
By the pity we show in the hour of care,
By the loads we lift and the love we share.

We make our world by the goals we pursue,
By the heights we seek and the higher view,
By hopes and dreams that reach the sun
And a will to fight till the heights are won.

What is the place in which we dwell,
A hut or a palace, a heaven or hell
We gather and scatter, we take and we give,
We make our world--and there we live.

--A.G. Walton


WORTH WHILE

It is easy enough to be pleasant,
When life flows by like a song,
But the man worth while is one who will smile,
When everything goes dead wrong.
For the test of the heart is trouble,
And it always comes with the years,
And the smile that is worth the praises of earth
Is the smile that shines through tears.

It is easy enough to be prudent,
When nothing tempts you to stray,
When without or within no voice of sin
Is luring your soul away;
But it's only a negative virtue
Until it is tried by fire,
And the life that is worth the honor on earth
Is the one that resists desire.

By the cynic, the sad, the fallen,
Who had no strength for the strife,
The world's highway is cumbered today;
They make up the sum of life.
But the virtue that conquers passion,
And the sorrow that hides in a smile,
It is these that are worth the homage on earth
For we find them but once in a while.

--E. W. Wilcox