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Encouraging Poems

Table of Contents

  1. The Weed's Counsel by Bliss Carman
  2. The Boy Who Didn't Pass by Anonymous
  3. The Builders by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  4. Builders by Peter Burn
  5. Unspoken Words by Anonymous
  6. Loving Words by Anonymous
  7. Keep a Bright Face by Kate Slaughter McKinney
  8. Encouragement by ENS
  9. The Gain of Loss by John Hobart Egbert, D. D.
  10. Sanctuary by Douglas Malloch
  11. Encouragement by Douglas Malloch
  12. Mountain Tops by Katherine F. Stone Cook

Encouragement is oxygen to the soul.

– George Madison Adams
Volunteer Union Civil War Captain & U. S. Congressman
  1. The Weed's Counsel

    by Bliss Carman

    Said a traveller by the way
    Pausing, "What hast thou to say,
    Flower by the dusty road,
    That would ease a mortal's load?"

    Traveller, hearken unto me!
    I will tell thee how to see
    Beauties in the earth and sky
    Hidden from the careless eye.
    I will tell thee how to hear
    Nature's music wild and clear, —
    Songs of midday and of dark
    Such as many never mark,
    Lyrics of creation sung
    Ever since the world was young.

    And thereafter thou shalt know
    Neither weariness nor woe.

    Thou shalt see the dawn unfold
    Artistries of rose and gold,
    And the sunbeams on the sea
    Dancing with the wind for glee.
    The red lilies of the moors
    Shall be torches on the floors,

    Where the field-lark lifts his cry
    To rejoice the passer-by,
    In a wide world rimmed with blue
    Lovely as when time was new.

    And thereafter thou shalt fare
    Light of foot and free from care.

    I will teach thee how to find
    Lost enchantments of the mind
    All about thee, never guessed
    By indifferent unrest.
    Thy distracted thought shall learn
    Patience from the roadside fern,
    And a sweet philosophy
    From the flowering locust tree,—
    While thy heart shall not disdain
    The consolation of the rain.

    Not an acre but shall give
    Of its strength to help thee live.

    With the many-wintered sun
    Shall thy hardy course be run.
    And the bright new moon shall be
    A lamp to thy felicity.
    When green-mantled spring shall come
    Past thy door with flute and drum,
    And when over wood and swamp
    Autumn trails her scarlet pomp,

    No misgiving shalt thou know,
    Passing glad to rise and go.

    So thy days shall be unrolled
    Like a wondrous cloth of gold.

    When gray twilight with her star
    Makes a heaven that is not far,
    Touched with shadows and with dreams,
    Thou shalt hear the woodland streams
    Singing through the starry night
    Holy anthems of delight.
    So the ecstasy of earth
    Shall refresh thee as at birth,
    And thou shalt arise each morn
    Radiant with a soul reborn.

    And this wisdom of a day
    None shall ever take away.

    What the secret, what the clew
    The wayfarer must pursue?
    Only one thing he must have
    Who would share these transports brave.
    Love within his heart must dwell
    Like a bubbling roadside well,
    For a spring to quicken thought,
    Else my counsel comes to naught.
    For without that quickening trust
    We are less than roadside dust.

    This, O traveller, is my creed,—
    All the wisdom of the weed!

    Then the traveller set his pack
    Once more on his dusty back,
    And trudged on for many a mile
    Fronting fortune with a smile.

  2. The Boy Who Didn't Pass

    by Anonymous

    A sad-faced little fellow sits alone in deep disgrace,
    There's a lump arising in his throat, tears streaming down his face;
    He wandered from his playmates, for he doesn't want to hear
    Their shouts of merry laughter, since the world has lost its cheer;
    He has sipped the cup of sorrow, he has drained the bitter glass,
    And his heart is fairly breaking; he's the boy who didn't pass.

    In the apple tree the robin sings a cheery little song,
    But he doesn't seem to hear it, showing plainly something's wrong;
    Comes his faithful little spaniel for a romp and bit of play,
    But the troubled little fellow sternly bids him go away.
    All alone he sits in sorrow, with his hair a tangled mass,
    And his eyes are red with weeping; he's the boy who didn't pass.

    How he hates himself for failing, he can hear his playmates jeer,
    For they've left him with the dullards—gone ahead a half a year,
    And he tried so hard to conquer, oh, he tried to do his best,
    But now he knows, he's weaker, yes, and duller than the rest.
    He's ashamed to tell his mother, for he thinks she'll hate him, too—
    The little boy who didn't pass, who failed of getting through.

    Oh, you who boast a laughing son, and speak of him as bright,
    And you who love a little girl who comes to you at night
    With smiling eyes, with dancing feet, with honors from her school,
    Turn to that lonely little boy who thinks he is a fool,
    And take him kindly by the hand, the dullest in his class,
    He is the one who most needs love, the boy who didn't pass.

  3. The Builders

    by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    All are architects of Fate,
    Working in these walls of Time;
    Some with massive deeds and great,
    Some with ornaments of rhyme.

    Nothing useless is, or low;
    Each thing in its place is best;
    And what seems but idle show
    Strengthens and supports the rest.

    For the structure that we raise,
    Time is with materials filled;
    Our to-days and yesterdays
    Are the blocks with which we build.

    Truly shape and fashion these;
    Leave no yawning gaps between;
    Think not, because no man sees,
    Such things will remain unseen.

    In the elder days of Art,
    Builders wrought with greatest care
    Each minute and unseen part;
    For the Gods see everywhere.

    Let us do our work as well,
    Both the unseen and the seen;
    Make the house, where Gods may dwell,
    Beautiful, entire, and clean.

    Else our lives are incomplete,
    Standing in these walls of Time,
    Broken stairways, where the feet
    Stumble as they seek to climb.

    Build to-day, then, strong and sure,
    With a firm and ample base;
    And ascending and secure
    Shall to-morrow find its place.

    Thus alone can we attain
    To those turrets, where the eye
    Sees the world as one vast plain,
    And one boundless reach of sky.

    By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care.

    – 1 Corinthians 3:10
    The Bible, NIV

    Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,

    – Colossians 3:23
    The Bible, NIV
  4. Unspoken Words

    by Anonymous

    The kindly words that rise within the heart,
    And thrill it with their sympathetic tone,
    But die ere spoken, fail to play their part,
    And claim a merit that is not their own.
    The kindly word unspoken is a sin,—
    A sin that wraps itself in purest guise,
    And tells the heart that, doubting, looks within,
    That not in speech, but thought, the virtue lies.

    But 't is not so; another heart may thirst
    For that kind word, as Hagar in the wild—
    Poor banished Hagar!—prayed a well might burst
    From out the sand to save her parching child.
    And loving eyes that cannot see the mind
    Will watch the unexpected movement of the lips.
    Ah! I can you let its cutting silence wind
    Around that heart and scathe it like a whip?

    Unspoken words like treasures in a mine
    Are valueless until we give them birth;
    Like unfound gold their hidden beauties shine,
    Which God has made to bless and gild the earth.
    How sad 't would be to see the master's hand
    Strike glorious notes upon a voiceless lute!
    But oh, what pain when, at God's own command,
    A heart-string thrills with kindness, but is mute!

    Then hide it not, the music of the soul,
    Dear sympathy expressed with kindly voice,
    But let it like a shining river roll
    To deserts dry—to hearts that would rejoice.
    Oh, let the symphony of kindly words
    Sound for the poor, the friendless, and the weak,
    And He will bless you! He who struck the chords
    Will strike another when in turn you seek.

  5. Loving Words

    by Anonymous

    Loving words will cost but little,
    Journeying up the hill of life;
    But they make the weak and weary
    Stronger, braver for the strife.
    Do you count them only trifles?
    What to earth are sun and rain?
    Never was a kind word wasted,
    Never was one said in vain.

    When the cares of life are many,
    And its burdens heavy grow,
    For the ones who walk beside you;
    If you love them, tell them so.
    What you count of little value
    Has an almost magic power,
    And beneath their cheering sunshine
    Hearts will blossom like a flower.

    So, as up life's hill we journey,
    Let us scatter, all the way,
    Kindly words, to be as sunshine
    In the dark and cloudy day.
    Grudge no loving word or action,
    As along through life you go;
    To the ones who Journey with you,
    If you love them, tell them so.

  6. Keep a Bright Face

    by Kate Slaughter McKinney

    Keep a bright face, darling,
    Though the task is hard,
    Life holds up before you
    Many a bright-faced card.

    Though the clouds have gathered
    And darkened all the way,
    Rainbows o’er you arching
    Tinge the skies of gray.

    You have said what sunshine
    Leaked in with the rain
    Only brought new sorrow,
    Brought but grief and pain.

    Keep a bright face, darling,
    Set your scales anew,
    Weigh again the sunshine
    And the raindrops, too.

    And you’ll find your measure
    Hitherto was wrong,
    Keep a bright face, darling,
    And on your lips a song.

    Heaven decrees our burdens,
    And our faith God tries;
    But a broken spirit
    He can not despise.

    Keep a bright face, darling—
    Even while I write,
    In the fields of midnight
    Blossom stars of light.

    Though the morning cometh
    With a streak of gray,
    ’Tis a hint of sunshine
    And a perfect day.

    Journey slow and patient
    With a purpose strong.
    Keep a bright face, darling,
    On your lips a song.

  7. Encouragement

    by ENS

    My fainting soul had well nigh droop'd
    When sorrow's heavy hand was near;
    But to the throne of grace I look'd,
    And mercy soon dispel'd my fear.

    "I'll never leave thee, nor forsake,"
    Came sweetly to my tremb'ling heart;
    His word I know He will not break,
    He cannot from His oath depart.

    Now cheerfully I onward speed,
    His promises forbid my fear;
    He will supply my every need,
    And in distress be ever near.

    I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. 

    – Psalm 27:13
  8. The Gain of Loss

    by John Hobart Egbart, D. D.

    If wounded hearts were all unknown on earth,
    How could we know the preciousness of balm?
    If storms ne'er swept across life's placid sea,
    What would we know about the peace of calm?

    If bitter sorrows had no place in life.
    The sense of joy would have to be revised,
    Bare roses on a thornless bush would lack
    Chaste settings of the gems most highly prized.

    Were there no rugged mountain steeps to climb,
    We could not vision valleys fresh and green;
    Were there no "Ups and Downs" for us in life,
    We'd never know what "Resting Places" mean.

    Had we no weaknesses to overcome,
    No enemies of righteousness to fight,
    We'd never know the thrill that comes to him
    Who stands or falls in the defense of Right.

    Were there no broken vows, no want or trust,
    No yearning hearts, no lack of constancy,
    Then Faith and Hope could have no mission here,
    Nor Love lay claim to sweet supermacy.

    There always is some recompense, some good in ill.
    Were cross unmixed with gold in human kind,
    The adamantine strands of friendship's "Threefold Cord"
    From "Common Clay" had never been refined.

  9. Sanctuary

    by Douglas Malloch

    When some one has slipped you the dirk in the dark,
    When eyes that are loving are lies,
    When some one you trusted has made you a mark,
    And somehow the heart in you dies,
    There's dirt for you, hurt for you, trouble enough
    To shatter the faith of a man;
    But don't ever think there is trouble so tough
    That you can't overcome it—you can.

    When living is losing its flavor to you,
    When worry is making you old;
    When there is no joy in the thing that you do
    Nor truth in the thing you are told,
    There's balm for you, calm for you, out in the wild,
    There's hope for you up on the hill.
    Get up in the timber and play like a child;
    You can overcome it—you will.

    Get up in the timber; the trail and the trees
    Will make you a man in a day.
    The smell of the soil and the breath of the breeze
    Will blow all your troubles away.
    There's pine for you, wine for you, hope for you there—
    The sun and the moon and the star—
    If the ways of the city are not on the square,
    Get up in the woods—where they are.

  10. Encouragement

    by Douglas Malloch

    I hold him dearest who aspires
    To kindle in my heart the fires
    Of best desires.

    I hold the man of all most dear
    Who, when I stumble, draweth near
    With word of cheer.

    I hold that man of best intents
    Who giveth me not paltry pence,
    But confidence.

    For there are men who quick caress
    Win give to laurel-crowned success—
    To nothing less.

    But, oh, how dearer far are they
    Who help me on the upward way
    When skies are gray.

    If so it be that I attain
    The mountain peak, and leave the plain
    And paths of pain,

    My prayers shall first be upward sent
    For those dear friends of mine who lent

  11. Builders

    by Peter Burn

    We each and all are builders,
    Of station, fortune, life!
    The minutes, as they meet us,
    With great results are rife;
    On self depends the future,
    Its sorrow or its joy,
    God gives the loaded present,
    And bids us it employ.

    We each and all are builders!
    Say, shall our structure stand,
    Resting on Rock-foundation
    Or on the shifting sand?
    Shall we be idle dreamers—
    That what befalls us must?
    Or active men and women,
    Who to their doings trust?

    We each and all are builders!
    O wisely then attend
    To callings, duties, promptings—
    Our lives on these depend;
    There lie both stone and mortar
    On time's deep-border'd shelves,
    And God, the Master-Builder
    Helps those who help themselves.

  12. Mountain Tops

    by Katherine F. Stone Cook

    The grand old mountains lift their granite heads
    Beneath the sun, and rain, and arching sky;
    Each dawning sunrise finds them still the same,
    Unmoved, unchanged, unchangeable for aye.

    The storms of winter and the summer's dew
    Alike unheeded leave their destined trace,
    But still unmoved, in grand simplicity,
    Each calmly fills its own appointed place.

    The tufted mosses weave their slender web,
    As if to tone and soften those stern lines,
    And out from many a crevice fringes float
    Of hardy rock-ferns and gay columbines.

    Who knows what converse these may nightly hold
    With yonder stars, their glorious compeers?
    Perchance, when all the world is hushed in sleep,
    They listen to the music of the spheres.

    Climb then, and stand upon the mountain tops,
    In that pure upper air, and breathe thy song,
    Or from its base look upward to the heights,
    And in the shadow of their strength, grow strong.

    Then lift again the burdens of the day,
    But bear them with a broader, higher aim,
    Live with your heart upon the mountain tops,
    Although your feet must tread the dusty plain.

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