Desiderata by Max Ehrmann

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.


Ring Out, Wild Bells by Alfred Lord Tennyson

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light;
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more,
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes,
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease,
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.


The Song of the Shirt by Thomas Hood

With fingers weary and worn,
With eyelids heavy and red,
A woman sat, in unwomanly rags,
Plying her needle and thread--
Stitch! stitch! stitch!
In poverty, hunger, and dirt,
And still with a voice of dolorous pitch
She sang the "Song of the Shirt."

"Work! work! work!
While the cock is crowing aloof!
And work — work — work,
Till the stars shine through the roof!
It's Oh! to be a slave
Along with the barbarous Turk,
Where woman has never a soul to save,
If this is Christian work!

"Work — work — work
Till the brain begins to swim;
Work — work — work
Till the eyes are heavy and dim!
Seam, and gusset, and band,
Band, and gusset, and seam,
Till over the buttons I fall asleep,
And sew them on in a dream!

"Oh, Men, with Sisters dear!
Oh, Men, with Mothers and Wives!
It is not linen you're wearing out,
But human creatures' lives!
Stitch — stitch — stitch,
In poverty, hunger, and dirt,
Sewing at once with a double thread,
A Shroud as well as a Shirt.

But why do I talk of Death?
That Phantom of grisly bone,
I hardly fear its terrible shape,
It seems so like my own —
It seems so like my own,
Because of the fasts I keep;
Oh, God! that bread should be so dear,
And flesh and blood so cheap!

"Work — work — work!
My Labour never flags;
And what are its wages? A bed of straw,
A crust of bread — and rags.
That shatter'd roof — and this naked floor —
A table — a broken chair —
And a wall so blank, my shadow I thank
For sometimes falling there!

"Work — work — work!
From weary chime to chime,
Work — work — work!
As prisoners work for crime!
Band, and gusset, and seam,
Seam, and gusset, and band,
Till the heart is sick, and the brain benumb'd,
As well as the weary hand.

"Work — work — work,
In the dull December light,
And work — work — work,
When the weather is warm and bright —
While underneath the eaves
The brooding swallows cling
As if to show me their sunny backs
And twit me with the spring.

Oh! but to breathe the breath
Of the cowslip and primrose sweet —
With the sky above my head,
And the grass beneath my feet
For only one short hour
To feel as I used to feel,
Before I knew the woes of want
And the walk that costs a meal!

Oh! but for one short hour!
A respite however brief!
No blessed leisure for Love or Hope,
But only time for Grief!
A little weeping would ease my heart,
But in their briny bed
My tears must stop, for every drop
Hinders needle and thread!"

With fingers weary and worn,
With eyelids heavy and red,
A woman sat in unwomanly rags,
Plying her needle and thread —
Stitch! stitch! stitch!
In poverty, hunger, and dirt,
And still with a voice of dolorous pitch, —
Would that its tone could reach the Rich! —
She sang this "Song of the Shirt!"


If... by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!


The Champion by Carman

In the vast expanse of a timeless place
Where Silence ruled the outer space
Ominously towering it stood
The symbol of a spirit war
Between the one named Lucifer, and the Morningstar, the ultimate of good.

Enveloped by a trillion planets
Clean as lightning, and hard as granite
A cosmic coliseum would host the end,
Of the war between the lord of sin and death
And the omnipotent creator of man's first breath
Who will decide, who forever will be.....


The audience for the fight of the ages was assembled and in place.
The angels came in splendor from a star.

The saints that had gone before were there, Jeremiah, Enoch, Job.
They were singing the song of Zion on David's harp.
The demons arived, offensive and vile, cursing and blaspheming God

Followed by their trophies dead and gone.
Hitler, Napoleon, Pharoh, Capone, tormented, vexed, and grieved
And waiting for their judgment from the throne.

Then a chill swept through the mammoth crowd
And the demons squealed with glee
As a sorid, vulgar, repulsive essence was felt.
Arrogantly prancing, hands held high, draped in a sparkling shroud,
Trolled by demons, Satan ascended from Hell.

Then Satan cringed, the sinners groaned, the demons reeled in pain
As as swell of power like silent thunder rolled.
With a surge of light beyond intense illuminating the universe,
In resplendent glory appeared the Son of God.

Then a persona, yes, extraordinaire appeared in center ring.
God the Father will oversee the duel.

Opening the Book of Life, each grand stand hushed in awe
As majestically he said, "Now, here's the rules:
He'll be wounded for their transgressions, bruised for iniquities."
When he said, "By His stripes they're healed," the devil shook.
He said, "Sickness is my specialty - I hate that healing junk."
God said, "You shut your face - I wrote the book."

Then the Father looked at His only son and said,
"You know the rules. Your blood will cleanse their sin and calm their fears."
Then he pointed His finger at Satan and said,
"And I know you know the rules,
You've been twisting them to deceive my people for years."
Satan cried, "I'll kill you Christ! You will never win this fight."
The demons wheezed, "That's right, there ain't no way."
Satan jeered, "You're dead meat Jesus, I'm gonna bust you up tonight."

Jesus said, "Go ahead, make my day!"

The bell, the crowd, the fight was on, and the Devil leaped in fury.
With all his evil tricks he came undone.
He threw his jabs of hate and lust, a stab of pride and envy,
But the hands that knew no sin blocked every one.
Forty days and nights they fought and Satan couldn't touch Him.
Now the final blow saved for the final round.
Prophetically Christ's hands came down and Satan struck in vengeance.
The blow of death fell Jesus to the ground.

The devils roared in victory, the saints shocked and perplexed
As wounds appeared upon His hands and feet.

The Satan kicked Him in His side and blood and water flowed

And they waited for the ten count of defeat.
God the Father turned His head. His tears announcing Christ was dead.
The ten count would proclaim the battle's end.
The Satan trembled through his sweat in unexpected horror yet,
As God started the count by saying, "...10..."
Hey wait a minute God,
"...9..."
Stop, you're counting wrong,
"...8..."
His eyes are moving...
"...7..."
His fingers are twitching...
"...6..."
Where's all this light coming from...
"...5..."
He's alive
"...4..."
Oh no...
"...3...2..."
Oh yes
He has won!

He has won!
He's alive forevermore, He is risen, He is Lord.
He has won!
He has won!
He's alive forevermore, He has risen, He is Lord.

Proclain the news in every tongue, through endless ages and beyond.
Let it be voiced from mountains loud and strong,
Captivity has been set free, salvation bought for you and me,
Cause Satan is defeated and Jesus is THE CHAMPION!


O Captain My Captain by Walt Whitman

O Captain my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weathered every rack, the prize we sought is won,
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up--for you the flag is flung for you the bugle trills,
For you bouquets and ribboned wreaths for you the shores a-crowding,
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head!
It is some dream that on the deck,
You've fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will;
The ship is anchored safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;
From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;
Exult O shores, and ring O bells!
But I, with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.


The Face Upon the Floor by Hugh Antoine D'Arcy 

'Twas a balmy summer evening and a goodly crowd was there,
Which well-nigh filled Joe's barroom, on the corner of the square;
And as songs and witty stories Came through the open door,
A vagabond crept slowly in and posed upon the floor.

"Where did it come from?" someone said. "The wind has blown it in."
"What does it want?" another cried. "Some whiskey, or rum or gin?"
"Here, Toby, sic 'em, if your stomach's equal to the work--
I wouldn't touch him with a fork, he's filthy as a Turk."

This badinage the poor wretch took with stoical good grace;
In fact, he smiled as tho' he thought he'd struck the proper place.
"Come, boys, I know there's kindly hearts among so good a crowd--
To be in such good company would make a deacon proud.

"Give me a drink--that's what I want... I'm out of funds, you know,
When I had cash to treat the gang this hand was never slow.
What? You laugh as if you thought this pocket never held a sou;
I once was fixed as well, my boys, as any one of you.

"There, thanks, that's braced me nicely, God bless you one and all;
Next time I pass this good saloon, I'll make another call.
Give you a song? No, I can't do that, my singing days are past;
My voice is cracked, my throat's worn out and my lungs are going fast.

"I'll tell you a funny story, and a fact, I promise, too.
Say! Give me another whiskey and I'll tell you what I'll do...
That I was ever a decent man not one of you would think;
But I was, some four or five years back. Say, give me another drink.

"Fill her up, Joe, I want to put some life into my frame--
Such little drinks to a bum like me are miserably tame;
Five fingers... there, that's the scheme... and corking whiskey, too.
Well, here's luck, boys and landlord... my best regards to you.

"You've treated me pretty kindly and I'd like to tell you true
How I came to be the dirty sot, you see before you now.
As I told you, once I was a man, with muscle, frame, and health,
And but for a blunder ought to have made, considerable wealth.

"I was a painter, not one that daubed on bricks and wood,
But an artist, and for my age, was rated pretty good.
I worked hard at my canvas and was bidding fair to rise,
For gradually I saw the star of fame before my eyes.

"I made a picture perhaps you've seen, 'tis called the 'Chase of Fame'.
It brought me fifteen hundred pounds and added to my name,
And then I met a woman... now comes the funny part--
With eyes that petrified my brain and sunk into my heart.

"Why don't you laugh? 'tis funny that the vagabond you see
Could ever love a woman and expect her love for me;
But 'twas so, and for a month or two, her smiles were freely given,
And when her loving lips touched mine, it carried me to Heaven.

"Boys, did you ever see a girl for whom your soul you'd give,
With a form like the Milo Venus, too beautiful to live;
With eyes that would beat the Koh-i-noor and a wealth of chestnut hair?
If so, 'twas she, for there never was, another half so fair.

"I was working on a portrait, one afternoon in May,
Of a fair-haired boy, a friend of mine, who lived across the way.
And Madeline admired it and much to my surprise,
Said she'd like to know the man, that had such dreamy eyes.

"It didn't take long to know him and before the month had flown
My friend had stole my darling, and I was left alone;
And ere a year of misery had passed above my head,
The jewel I had treasured so had tarnished and was dead.

That's why I took to drink, boys. why, I never see you smile,
I thought you'd be amused and laughing all the while.
Why, what's the matter, friend?... there's a tear-drop in your eye,
Come, laugh like me 'tis only babes and women that should cry.

"Say, boys, if you give me just another whiskey I'll be glad,
And I'll draw right here a picture of the face that drove me mad.
Give me that piece of chalk with which you mark the baseball score
You shall see the lovely Madeline upon the barroom floor."

Another drink, and with chalk in hand, the vagabond began
To sketch a face that well might buy, the soul of any man.
Then, as he placed another lock upon the shapely head,
With a fearful shriek, he leaped and fell across the picture... dead!


The Rich Man and the Poor Man

“Food and money I give to you,
Why do you shout so mercily
When I give you your part?”
queried the rich man.

The poor man replied:
“Your question you cannot answer
For from pain and agony you are free,
But I have suffered and borne
The situation that I don’t like to be in.”

“That I couldn’t understand
Because Life for me is easy;
I take this and take that,
And life is just what I want it to be.”
consented the rich man.

“Comfort your mind, rich man,
with realities of death.
Your wealth I do not envy
For you can not buy
eternity with money.
If to live happily
is to live in hypocrisy,
Then I prefer to be silly
so I would be holy.
Life you love so much you will lose
And only then will you understand
What agony is,” the poor man shouted.

“Ha! Ha! Ha! You say so
For you desire this place of mine.
Indulgence you have clouded with reason
But I understand because of your situation.”
boastfully the rich man said.

Outraged the poor man answered:
“How pitiful the person blinded with pleasure;
No, you don’t care of our journey
That you have created through your greediness.
Come now, man of weak soul!
Your days are numbered for you to face
The Man of Love.
You may not cry now but later you will
When the chilling reality of the last judgment
Comes across your way;
Yes, then you will pity, but not for me.
Not for anybody else.
But for yourself only!
Yes, eat, drink, and be merry.
For tomorrow you shall die!






The Man with a Hoe by Edwin Markham

Bowed by the weight of centuries he leans
Upon his hoe and gazes on the ground,
The emptiness of ages in his face,
And on his back, the burden of the world.
Who made him dead to rapture and despair,
A thing that grieves not and that never hopes,
Stolid and stunned, a brother to the ox?
Who loosened and let down this brutal jaw?
Whose was the hand that slanted back this brow?
Whose breath blew out the light within this brain?

Is this the Thing the Lord God made and gave
To have dominion over sea and land;
To trace the stars and search the heavens for power;
To feel the passion of Eternity?
Is this the dream He dreamed who shaped the suns
And marked their ways upon the ancient deep?
Down all the caverns of Hell to their last gulf
There is no shape more terrible than this--
More tongued with cries against the world's blind greed--
More filled with signs and portents for the soul--
More packed with danger to the universe.

What gulfs between him and the seraphim!
Slave of the wheel of labor, what to him
Are Plato and the swing of the Pleiades?
What the long reaches of the peaks of song,
The rift of dawn, the reddening of the rose?
Through this dread shape the suffering ages look;
Time's tragedy is in that aching stoop;
Through this dread shape humanity betrayed,
Plundered, profaned and disinherited,
Cries protest to the Powers that made the world,
A protest that is also prophecy.

O masters, lords and rulers in all lands,
Is this the handiwork you give to God,
This monstrous thing distorted and soul-quenched?
How will you ever straighten up this shape;
Touch it again with immortality;
Give back the upward looking and the light;
Rebuild in it the music and the dream;
Make right the immemorial infamies,
Perfidious wrongs, immedicable woes?

O masters, lords and rulers in all lands,
How will the future reckon with this Man?
How answer his brute question in that hour
When whirlwinds of rebellion shake all shores?
How will it be with kingdoms and with kings--
With those who shaped him to the thing he is--
When this dumb Terror shall rise to judge the world,
After the silence of the centuries?