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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. Unspoken Words by Anonymous
  5. Loving Words by Anonymous
  6. Keep a Bright Face by Kate Slaughter McKinney


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.