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Poems About Giving

Table of Contents

  1. How Can I Keep From Giving? by Robert Franklin Skillings
  2. Getters and Givers by Anonymous
  3. The Two Kinds of People by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
  4. A Legend of the Northland by Phoebe Cary
  5. God Pity the Poor by Anonymous
  6. A Song of Giving by Anonymous
  7. Inscription on the Shanklin Fountain by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  8. Sowing and Reaping by Adelaide Anne Procter
  9. The Real Riches by John G. Saxe
  10. Help In Need by James McIntyre
  11. The Feast-time of the Year by Dora Read Goodale
  12. Charity by Eliza and Sarah Wolcott
  13. On The Cackling of a Hen by John Bunyan
  14. Requitals by Anonymous
  15. Benevolence by Daniel Clement Colesworthy

  1. How Can I Keep From Giving?

    by Robert Franklin Skillings

    Over against the treasury
    Emmanuel was sitting;
    The rich cast in of their great wealth
    What seemed to them befitting.
    A widow came and gave two mites,
    Which then was all her living;
    She did the most of all the host—
    How can I keep from giving?

    How blest the man who knows Thy word,
    "Give and it shall be given;"
    His all he brings unto the Lord,
    His treasure! is in heaven.
    Help me, dear Lord, that I may give
    Thus even all my living;
    Since of Thy bounty I receive,
    How can I keep from giving?

    I have received a precious gift,
    No mortal tongue can speak it;
    The like is ready now for all
    Who diligently seek it.
    I can but sing the praise of Him
    From whom I am receiving;
    And as He gives Himself to me,
    How can I keep from giving?

    To love the Lord with all the heart,
    And as myself my neighbor,
    I mean to strive with all my might,
    And to this end will labor.
    And may I never faithless prove,
    But always be believing;
    For while I think of Thy great love,
    How can I keep from giving?

  2. Getters and Givers

    by Amos Russel Wells

    Know yourself not of the light, if you hide at home;
    Know yourself not of the heat, if aught can hold you;
    Know yourself not of God, if the widest dome
    That ever a hermit soul built up for itself enfold you.
    There are only two kinds of men among all that live,—
    The men that live to get, and the men that get to give.

  3. The Two Kinds of People

    No; the two kinds of people on earth I mean,
    Are the people who lift and the people who lean.

    - Ella Wheeler Wilcox
    The Two Kinds of People
    by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

    There are two kinds of people on earth to-day;
    Just two kinds of people, no more, I say.

    Not the sinner and saint, for it's well understood,
    The good are half bad and the bad are half good.

    Not the rich and the poor, for to rate a man's wealth,
    You must first know the state of his conscience and health.

    Not the humble and proud, for in life's little span,
    Who puts on vain airs is not counted a man.

    Not the happy and sad, for the swift flying years
    Bring each man his laughter and each man his tears.

    No; the two kinds of people on earth I mean,
    Are the people who lift and the people who lean.

    Wherever you go, you will find the earth's masses
    Are always divided in just these two classes.

    And, oddly enough, you will find, too, I ween,
    There's only one lifter to twenty who lean.

    In which class are you? Are you easing the load
    Of overtaxed lifters, who toil down the road?

    Or are you a leaner, who lets others share
    Your portion of labor, and worry and care?

  4. A Legend of the Northland

    Give plenty of what is given to you,
    Listen to pity's call;
    Don't think the little you give is great,
    And the much you get is small.

    - Phoebe Cary
    A Legend of the Northland
    by Phoebe Cary

    Away, away in the Northland,
    Where the hours of the day are few,
    And the nights are so long in winter
    That they cannot sleep them through;

    Where they harness the swift reindeer
    To the sledges, when it snows;
    And the children look like bear's cubs
    In their funny, furry clothes:

    They tell them a curious story—
    I don't believe 'tis true;
    And yet you may learn a lesson
    If I tell the tale to you.

    Once, when the good Saint Peter
    Lived in the world below,
    And walked about it, preaching,
    Just as he did, you know,

    He came to the door of a cottage,
    In traveling round the earth,
    Where a little woman was making cakes,
    And baking them on the hearth;

    And being faint with fasting,
    For the day was almost done,
    He asked her, from her store of cakes,
    To give him a single one.

    So she made a very little cake,
    But as it baking lay,
    She looked at it, and thought it seemed
    Too large to give away.

    Therefore she kneaded another,
    And still a smaller one;
    But it looked, when she turned it over,
    As large as the first had done.

    Then she took a tiny scrap of dough,
    And rolled and rolled it flat;
    And baked it thin as a wafer—
    But she couldn't part with that.

    For she said, "My cakes that seem too small
    When I eat of them myself,
    Are yet too large to give away."
    So she put them on the shelf.

    Then good Saint Peter grew angry,
    For he was hungry and faint;
    And surely such a woman
    Was enough to provoke a saint.

    And he said, "You are far too selfish
    To dwell in a human form,
    To have both food and shelter,
    And fire to keep you warm.

    "Now, you shall build as the birds do,
    And shall get your scanty food
    By boring, and boring, and boring,
    All day in the hard, dry wood."

    Then up she went through the chimney,
    Never speaking a word,
    And out of the top flew a woodpecker,
    For she was changed to a bird.

    She had a scarlet cap on her head,
    And that was left the same,
    But all the rest of her clothes were burned
    Black as a coal in the flame.

    And every country school-boy
    Has seen her in the wood,
    Where she lives in the trees till this very day,
    Boring and boring for food.

    And this is the lesson she teaches:
    Live not for yourself alone,
    Lest the needs you will not pity
    Shall one day be your own.

    Give plenty of what is given to you,
    Listen to pity's call;
    Don't think the little you give is great,
    And the much you get is small.

    Now, my little boy, remember that,
    And try to be kind and good,
    When you see the woodpecker's sooty dress,
    And see her scarlet hood.

    You mayn't be changed to a bird though you live
    As selfishly as you can;
    But you will be changed to a smaller thing—
    A mean and selfish man.

  5. God Pity the Poor

    God pities the poor, no doubt;
    But how am I pitying them?

    - Amos R. Wells
    God Pity the Poor
    by Amos Russel Wells

    "God pity the poor!" I cry.
    And I feel a virtuous glow;
    Not many so tender as I
    To the weight of the sad world's woe.

    "God pity the poor!" I shout,
    And draw back my garment's hem.
    God pities the poor, no doubt;
    But how am I pitying them?

  6. A Song of Giving

    by Anonymous

    In my gifts I travel far
    As the needy nations are,—
    North and south and east and west;
    Givers' travels are the best.

    In my gifts I dig a mine
    Down where lordliest treasures shine,—
    Gratitude of hearts oppressed;
    Givers' Klondikes are the best.

    In my gifts I mount and rise
    Through the reaches of the skies
    To a heaven of joy and rest;
    Givers' wings are far the best.

  7. Inscription on the Shanklin Fountain

    by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    O traveller, stay thy weary feet;
    Drink of this fountain, pure and sweet;
    It flows for rich and poor the same.
    Then go thy way, remembering still
    The wayside well beneath the hill,
    The cup of water in his name.

  8. Sowing and Reaping

    You shall reap in joy the harvest
    You have sown to-day in tears.

    - Adelaide Anne Procter
    Sowing and Reaping
    by Adelaide Anne Procter

    Sow with a generous hand;
    Pause not for toil and pain;
    Weary not through the heat of summer,
    Weary not through the cold spring rain;
    But wait till the autumn comes
    For the sheaves of golden grain.

    Scatter the seed, and fear not,
    A table will be spread;
    What matter if you are too weary
    To eat your hard-earned bread;
    Sow, while the earth is broken,
    For the hungry must be fed.

    Sow;—while the seeds are lying
    In the warm earth's bosom deep,
    And your warm tears fall upon it—
    They will stir in their quiet sleep,
    And the green blades rise the quicker,
    Perchance, for the tears you weep.

    Then sow;—for the hours are fleeting,
    And the seed must fall to-day;
    And care not what hand shall reap it,
    Or if you shall have passed away
    Before the waving cornfields
    Shall gladden the sunny day.

    Sow;—and look onward, upward,
    Where the starry light appears,—
    Where, in spite of the coward's doubting,
    Or your own heart's trembling fears,
    You shall reap in joy the harvest
    You have sown to-day in tears.

    Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.

    – 2 Corinthians 9:6
    The Bible, NIV
  9. Excerpt from "The Real Riches"

    by John G. Saxe

    But each merciful oblation—
    Seed of pity wisely sown,
    What we gave in self-negation,
    We may safely call our own;
    For the treasure freely given
    Is the treasure that we hoard,
    Since the angels keep in heaven,
    What is lent unto the Lord.

  10. Help In Need

    by James McIntyre

    A poor man's horse it ran away,
    Soon man upon the roadside lay,
    With his leg all badly broken,
    Of sympathy some gave token.

    One said your trouble grieves my heart,
    But with his money would not part,
    Another said, while heaving sighs,
    It brings the tears into mine eyes.

    But a good true hearted man,
    His heart with kindness it o'er ran,
    The poorest man among the three,
    A pound he did contribute free.

    Others gave in empty feeling,
    But this poor man he did bring healing,
    The giver only Lord doth prize,
    Who helps afflicted for to rise.

  11. The Feast-time of the Year

    by Dora Read Goodale

    This is the feast-time of the year,
    When plenty pours her wine of cheer,
    And even humble boards may spare
    To poorer poor a kindly share.
    While bursting barns and granaries know
    A richer, fuller overflow.
    And they who dwell in golden ease
    Blest without toil, yet toil to please.

  12. Charity

    by Eliza and Sarah Wolcott

    Recorded in the book of life—blest name;
    And blest the soul that feels another's wo;
    Who when the houseless stranger weary came,
    Welcom'd his guest, a favor to bestow.

    Blest soul! who wipes the tears from weeping eyes,
    Who hastens to the widow's lonely shade,
    There mingling in the hapless orphan's sighs,
    Leads them to spring's perennial fountain head.

    There speak of all those mansions well prepar'd,
    Where Jesus smiles and blesses all that mourn,
    The father of the fatherless, the widow's guard,
    To comfort all the comfortless, and forlorn.

    Blest soul! who visits oft the prisoner's cell,
    Who cheers that dark, that dreaded damp abode,
    Where often pale and wan in chains they dwell,
    Forgotten, lie beneath oppression's load.

    Blest soul! whose prayers and alms are freely given
    To all affliction's sons and daughters here;
    Such incense bears a sweet perfume to heaven,
    And angels lend a listening ear to hear.

  13. On The Cackling of a Hen

    by John Bunyan

    The hen, so soon as she an egg doth lay,
    (Spreads the fame of her doing what she may.)
    About the yard she cackling now doth go,
    To tell what 'twas she at her nest did do.
    Just thus it is with some professing men,
    If they do ought that good is, like our hen
    They can but cackle on't where e'er they go,
    What their right hand doth their left hand must know.

  14. Requitals

    by Amos Russel Wells

    Hast a present? Be not swift
    To return a gift for gift.
    Thus the shallow mirror's face
    Backward flings the approaching grace.

    Rather ape that magic plate
    Where the eager fluids wait
    Some appeal of joy, to laugh
    In a lasting photograph!

  15. Benevolence

    by Daniel Clement Colesworthy

    Give, although your heart may never
    To a grateful tear respond;
    Deeds of kindness bless forever,
    Reaching to the world beyond.

    Do you see the air that closes
    When the arrow speedeth by?
    Or the scents that rise from roses?
    Or the spirit's glancing eye?

    So you never may discover
    Where a kindly act shall fall,
    Nor the angel hosts that hover,
    Watching and directing-all.

    Give not grudgingly but freely,
    With a heart allied to God,
    And your alms will prove to be the
    Winglets scattering love abroad.

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