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Poems About Helping Others

Table of Contents

  1. Lend a Hand by Anonymous
  2. "I'll Stretch It a Little" by Anonymous
  3. Credo by Roy Neal
  4. Help In Need by James McIntyre
  5. The Bridge Builder by Anonymous
  6. The Two Kinds of People by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
  7. If We Understood by Anonymous
  8. Your Mission by Ellen H. Gates
  9. The House by the Side of the Road by Sam Walter Foss
  10. Unawares by Emma A. Lent
  11. Fraternity by William Henry Dawson
  12. Our Duty by Richard Lynott O'Malley
  13. The Lesson by Laurence Dunbar
  14. The One White Hair by Walter Savage Landor
  15. Hunt a Busy Man by Anonymous
  16. No Man is an Island by John Donne
  17. The One in Ten by Edgar A. Guest
  18. Success by Edgar A. Guest
  19. At Set of Sun by Anonymous
  20. Progress by Kate Louise Wheeler
  21. A Halo by Kate Louise Wheeler

  1. Lend a Hand

    Lend a hand to one another
    In the daily toil of life;

    – Anonymous
    Lend a Hand
    by Anonymous

    Lend a hand to one another
    In the daily toil of life;
    When we meet a weaker brother,
    Let us help him in the strife.
    There is none so rich but may,
    In his turn, be forced to borrow;
    And the poor man's lot to-day
    May become our own to-morrow.

    Lend a hand to one another:
    When malicious tongues have thrown
    Dark suspicion on your brother,
    Be not prompt to cast a stone.
    There is none so good but may
    Run adrift in shame and sorrow.

    Lend a hand to one another:
    In the race for Honor's crown;
    Should it fall upon your brother,
    Let not envy tear it down.
    Lend a hand to all, we pray,
    In their sunshine or their sorrow;
    And the prize they've won today
    May become our own to-morrow.

  2. "I'll Stretch It a Little"

    by Anonymous

    The wintry blast was fierce and cold,
    And the lassie's coat was thin and old.
    Her little brother by her side
    Shivered and pitifully cried.
    "Come underneath my coat," said she,
    "And see how snug and warm you'll be."
    The brother answered, nothing loth,
    "But is it big enough for both?"
    "Yes," said the girl, with cheery wit;
    "I'll stretch it out a little bit."

    Ah, brothers, sisters, where the mind
    Is bent upon an action kind,
    What though the means are sparely spun,
    And hardly seem to serve for one?
    Stretch them with love, and straightway you
    Will find them amply wide for two!

  3. Credo

    by Roy Neal

    Mix a little shake of laughter in the doings of the day,
    Scatter golden bits of sunshine as you plod along the way,
    Stop to cheer a fellow human that's a bit worse off than you—
    Help him climb the pesky ladder that you find so hard to do;
    Show by every daily motive, every thought and every deed—
    You are one that folks can turn to when they find themselves in need;
    Just forget the rugged places—make believe they're slick and smooth;

    When you spot the troubled faces, pull a grin and try to soothe;
    Life's a game—a mighty short one—play it gamely while you can—
    Let the score book show the record that you measured up a MAN!
    Pretty pomes and marble towers won't avail you very much,
    When you've passed—unless you've helped to lighten heavy loads and such;
    Better far to have your neighbors say you were a cheerful chap,
    Always kind and always helpful—if you're that, you'll leave a gap;
    You may scatter filthy lucre to your merry heart's content,
    And forgotten be much sooner than some good-souled homeless gent;
    Chances are that in the making of your sordid pile of cash,
    In your handclasps you were faking, though you did show pep and dash;
    Never mind about the fortune you made up your mind to pile—
    But just live the GOLDEN RULE, lad, and your life will be worth while.

  4. Help In Need

    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.

    – James McIntyre
    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.

  5. The Bridge Builder

    by Anonymous

    An old man going a lone highway,
    Came, at the evening cold and gray,
    To a chasm vast and deep and wide,
    The old man crossed in the twilight dim,
    The sullen stream had no fear for him;
    But he turned when safe on the other side
    And built a bridge to span the tide.

    "Old man," said a fellow pilgrim near,
    "You are wasting your strength with building here;
    Your journey will end with the ending day,
    Yon never again will pass this way;
    You've crossed the chasm, deep and wide,
    Why build this bridge at evening tide?"

    The builder lifted his old gray head;
    "Good friend, in the path I have come," he said,
    "There followed after me to-day
    A youth whose feet must pass this way.
    This chasm that has been as naught to me
    To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be;
    He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
    Good friend, I am building this bridge for him!"

  6. 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?

  7. If We Understood

    Oh! we'd love each other better,
    If we only understood.

    – Anonymous
    If We Understood
    by Anonymous

    Could we but draw back the curtains
    That surround each other's lives,
    See the naked heart and spirit,
    Know what spur the action gives,
    Often we should find it better,
    Purer than we judged we should,
    We should love each other better,
    If we only understood.

    Could we judge all deeds by motives,
    See the good and bad within,
    Often we should love the sinner
    All the while we loathe the sin;
    Could we know the powers working
    To o'erthrow integrity,
    We should judge each other's errors
    With more patient charity.

    If we knew the cares and trials,
    Knew the effort all in vain,
    And the bitter disappointment,
    Understood the loss and gain—
    Would the grim, eternal roughness
    Seem—I wonder—just the same?
    Should we help where now we hinder,
    Should we pity where we blame?

    Ah! we judge each other harshly,
    Knowing not life's hidden force;
    Knowing not the fount of action
    Is less turbid at its source;
    Seeing not amid the evil
    All the golden grains of good;
    Oh! we'd love each other better,
    If we only understood.

  8. Your Mission

    Do not then stand idly waiting
    For some greater work to do;
    Fortune is a lazy goddess,
    She will never come to you.
    If you want a field of labor,
    You can find it anywhere.

    – Ellen H. Gates
    Your Mission
    by Ellen H. Gates

    If you cannot on the ocean
    Sail among the swiftest fleet,
    Rocking on the highest billows,
    Laughing at the storms you meet,
    You can stand among the sailors,
    Anchored yet within the bay,
    You can lend a hand to help them,
    As they launch their boats away.

    If you are too weak to journey
    Up the mountain, steep and high,
    You can stand within the valley,
    While the multitudes go by.
    You can chant in happy measure,
    As they slowly pass along;
    Though they may forget the singer
    They will not forget the song.

    If you have not gold and silver
    Ever ready to command,
    If you cannot toward the needy
    Reach an ever open hand,
    You can visit the afflicted,
    O'er the erring you can weep,
    You can be a true disciple,
    Sitting at the Saviour's feet.

    If you cannot in the conflict
    Prove yourself a soldier true,
    If where the fire and smoke are thickest
    There's no work for you to do,
    When the battle-field is silent,
    You can go with careful tread,
    You can bear away the wounded,
    You can cover up the dead.

    Do not then stand idly waiting
    For some greater work to do;
    Fortune is a lazy goddess,
    She will never come to you.
    Go and toil in any vineyard,
    Do not fear to do or dare,
    If you want a field of labor,
    You can find it anywhere.

  9. The House by the Side of the Road

    by Sam Walter Foss

    There are hermit souls that live withdrawn
    In the peace of their self-content;
    There are souls, like stars, that dwell apart,
    In a fellowless firmament;
    There are pioneer souls that blaze their paths
    Where highways never ran;—
    But let me live by the side of the road
    And be a friend to man.

    Let me live in a house by the side of the road,
    Where the race of men go by—
    The men who are good and the men who are bad,
    As good and as bad as I.
    I would not sit in the scorner’s seat,
    Or hurl the cynic’s ban;—
    Let me live in a house by the side of the road
    And be a friend to man.

    I see from my house by the side of the road,
    By the side of the highway of life,
    The men who press with the ardor of hope,
    The men who are faint with the strife.
    But I turn not away from their smiles nor their tears—
    Both parts of an infinite plan;—
    Let me live in my house by the side of the road
    And be a friend to man.

    I know there are brook-gladdened meadows ahead
    And mountains of wearisome height;
    That the road passes on through the long afternoon
    And stretches away to the night.
    But still I rejoice when the travelers rejoice,
    And weep with the strangers that moan,
    Nor live in my house by the side of the road
    Like a man who dwells alone.

    Let me live in my house by the side of the road
    Where the race of men go by—
    They are good, they are bad, they are weak, they are strong,
    Wise, foolish— so am I.
    Then why should I sit in the scorner’s seat
    Or hurl the cynic’s ban?—
    Let me live in my house by the side of the road
    And be a friend to man.

  10. Unawares

    by Emma A. Lent

    They said, "The Master is coming
    To honor the town to-day,
    And none can tell at what house or home
    The Master will choose to stay."
    And I thought while my heart beat wildly,
    What if He should come to mine,
    How would I strive to entertain
    And honor the Guest Divine!

    And straight I turned to toiling
    To make my house more neat;
    I swept, and polished, and garnished.
    And decked it with blossoms sweet.
    I was troubled for fear the Master
    Might come ere my work was done,
    And I hasted and worked the faster,
    And watched the hurrying sun.

    But right in the midst of my duties
    A woman came to my door;
    She had come to tell me her sorrows
    And my comfort and aid to implore,
    And I said, "I cannot listen
    Nor help you any, to-day;
    I have greater things to attend to."
    And the pleader turned away.

    But soon there came another—
    A cripple, thin, pale and gray—
    And said, "Oh, let me stop and rest
    A while in your house, I pray!
    I have traveled far since morning,
    I am hungry, and faint, and weak;
    My heart is full of misery,
    And comfort and help I seek."

    And I cried, "I am grieved and sorry,
    But I cannot help you to-day.
    I look for a great and noble Guest,"
    And the cripple went away;
    And the day wore onward swiftly—
    And my task was nearly done,
    And a prayer was ever in my heart
    That the Master to me might come.

    And I thought I would spring to meet Him,
    And serve him with utmost care,
    When a little child stood by me
    With a face so sweet and fair—
    Sweet, but with marks of teardrops—
    And his clothes were tattered and old;
    A finger was bruised and bleeding,
    And his little bare feet were cold.

    And I said, "I'm sorry for you—
    You are sorely in need of care;
    But I cannot stop to give it,
    You must hasten otherwhere."
    And at the words, a shadow
    Swept o'er his blue-veined brow,—
    "Someone will feed and clothe you, dear,
    But I am too busy now."

    At last the day was ended,
    And my toil was over and done;
    My house was swept and garnished—
    And I watched in the dark—alone.
    Watched—but no footfall sounded,
    No one paused at my gate;
    No one entered my cottage door;
    I could only pray—and wait.

    I waited till night had deepened,
    And the Master had not come.
    "He has entered some other door," I said,
    "And gladdened some other home!"
    My labor had been for nothing,
    And I bowed my head and I wept,
    My heart was sore with longing—
    Yet—in spite of it all—I slept.

    Then the Master stood before me,
    And his face was grave and fair;
    "Three times to-day I came to your door,
    And craved your pity and care;
    Three times you sent me onward,
    Unhelped and uncomforted;
    And the blessing you might have had was lost,
    And your chance to serve has fled."

    "O Lord, dear Lord, forgive me!
    How could I know it was Thee?"
    My very soul was shamed and bowed
    In the depths of humility.
    And He said, "The sin is pardoned,
    But the blessing is lost to thee;
    For comforting not the least of Mine
    You have failed to comfort Me."

    "The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'

    – Matthew 25:40
    The Bible, NIV
  11. Fraternity

    by William Henry Dawson

    Fraternity is that feeling toward mankind—
    Without regard to rank, or wealth, or place—
    Which makes a brother easy quite to find,
    And sees God's image in that brother's face.

    Sometimes the image is so badly scarred;
    Almost beyond the recognition mark;
    Its life by sinfulness so badly marred
    That all the good combined is but a spark,

    Yet the sweet spirit of fraternity,
    Acknowledging the fatherhood of God,
    Fails not His likeness in that soul to see,
    And lifts it from beneath the chastening rod.

    The man who thinks himself without a friend;
    Who bitterest dregs from sorrow's cup has drained;
    Who'd gladly welcome death if 'twould but end
    The hell on earth which sinfulness has gained—

    To him fraternity extends its hand
    And says "my fellow trav'ler, look above;
    Let me assist you on your feet to stand.
    You are God's child, and God is love."

  12. Our Duty

    by Richard Lynott O'Malley

    O disconsolate man, why fret and complain
    That no use was thy birth, that thy life hath been vain?
    Bear in mind, every mortal that ever draws breath
    Has a duty assigned to fulfill before death;
    And thou hast thine own, be it great, be it small,
    And perhaps unaware thou art true to it all.

    Hast thou e'er helped a bosom to banish distress?
    Hast thou e'er helped a heart into happiness?
    Hast thou played with the children, and taught them to play?
    Hast thou prayed with the children, and taught them to pray?
    Hast thou smiled on the good? hast thou frowned upon sin?
    Hast thy heart felt the glow of true kindness within?
    Ay, thy duty is such; yet it may be well done
    By a tear and kind word for the desolate one;
    Yea, e'en but one sigh for a mortal in pain
    Were enough to convince that thy life is not vain.

  13. The Lesson

    But at his smile I smiled in turn,
    And into my soul there came a ray:
    In trying to soothe another's woes
    Mine own had passed away.

    – Paul Laurence Dunbar
    The Lesson
    by Paul Laurence Dunbar

    My cot was down by a cypress grove,
    And I sat by my window the whole night long,
    And heard well up from the deep dark wood
    A mocking-bird's passionate song.

    And I thought of myself so sad and lone,
    And my life's cold winter that knew no spring;
    Of my mind so weary and sick and wild,
    Of my heart too sad to sing.

    But e'en as I listened the mock-bird's song,
    A thought stole into my saddened heart,
    And I said, "I can cheer some other soul
    By a carol's simple art."

    For oft from the darkness of hearts and lives
    Come songs that brim with joy and light,
    As out of the gloom of the cypress grove
    The mocking-bird sings at night.

    So I sang a lay for a brother's ear
    In a strain to soothe his bleeding heart,
    And he smiled at the sound of my voice and lyre,
    Though mine was a feeble art.

    But at his smile I smiled in turn,
    And into my soul there came a ray:
    In trying to soothe another's woes
    Mine own had passed away.

  14. The One White Hair

    by Walter Savage Landor

    The wisest of the wise
    Listen to pretty lies
    And love to hear'em told.
    Doubt not that Solomon
    Listened to many a one,—
    Some in his youth, and more when he grew old.

    I never was among
    The choir of Wisdom's song,
    But pretty lies loved I
    As much as any king,
    When youth was on the wing,
    And (must it then be told?) when youth had quite gone by.

    Alas! and I have not
    The pleasant hour forgot
    When one pert lady said,
    "O Walter! I am quite
    Bewildered with affright!
    I see (sit quiet now) a white hair on your head!"

    Another more benign
    Snipped it away from mine,
    And in her own dark hair
    Pretended it was found...
    She leaped, and twirled it round...
    Fair as she was, she never was so fair!

  15. Hunt a Busy Man

    by Anonymous

    "If you've a job that you want done,"
    So runs a saying grim,
    "Just find the busiest man you can,
    And give the task to him."

    Of all the wicked schemes devised
    By laziness and fat,
    The wickedest, the cruelest,
    The shamefulest, is that!

    The man who says that wicked thing
    Some day will surely go
    To most appropriate punishment
    Administered below.

    Upon his groaning form bestowed,
    A weight of iron shall rest,
    And ever with increasing loads
    His body shall be pressed.

    "Now here's another little weight,"
    The fiends will say with vim;
    "And here's an over-loaded man;
    So lay the weight on him."

  16. No Man is an Island

    No man is an island,
    Entire of itself,

    - John Donne
    No Man is an Island
    by John Donne

    No man is an island,
    Entire of itself,
    Every man is a piece of the continent,
    A part of the main.
    If a clod be washed away by the sea,
    Europe is the less.
    As well as if a promontory were.
    As well as if a manor of thy friend's
    Or of thine own were:
    Any man's death diminishes me,
    Because I am involved in mankind,
    And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
    It tolls for thee.

  17. The One in Ten

    by Edgar A. Guest

    Nine passed him by with a hasty look,
    Each bent on his eager way;
    One glance at him was the most they took,
    "Somebody stuck," said they;
    But it never occurred to the nine to heed
    A stranger's plight and a stranger's need.

    The tenth man looked at the stranded car,
    And he promptly stopped his own.
    "Let's see if I know what your troubles are,"
    Said he in a cheerful tone;
    "Just stuck in the mire. Here's a cable stout, Hitch onto my bus and I'll pull you out."

    "A thousand thanks," said the stranger then,
    "For the debt that I owe you;
    I've counted them all and you're one in ten
    Such a kindly deed to do."
    And the tenth man smiled and he answered then,
    "Make sure that you'll be the one in ten."

    Are you one of the nine who pass men by
    In this hasty life we live?
    Do you refuse with a downcast eye
    The help which you could give?
    Or are you the one in ten whose creed
    Is always to stop for the man in need?

  18. Success

    by Edgar A. Guest

    This I would claim for my success—not fame nor gold,
    Nor the throng's changing cheers from day to day,
    Not always ease and fortune's glad display,
    Though all of these are pleasant joys to hold;
    But I would like to have my story told
    By smiling friends with whom I've shared the way,
    Who, thinking of me, nod their heads and say:
    "His heart was warm when other hearts were cold.

    "None turned to him for aid and found it not,
    His eyes were never blind to man's distress,
    Youth and old age he lived, nor once forgot
    The anguish and the ache of loneliness;
    His name was free from stain or shameful blot
    And in his friendship men found happiness."

  19. At Set of Sun

    by Anonymous

    If we set down at set of sun
    And count the things that we have done,
    And counting, find
    One self-denying act, one word
    That eased the heart of him who heard;
    One glance most kind,
    That felt like sunshine where it went,
    Then we may count the day well spent.

    But if, through all the live-long day,
    We’ve eased no heart by yea or nay;
    If through it all
    We’ve done no thing that we can trace,
    That brought the sunshine to a face;
    No act, most small,
    That helped some soul, and nothing cost,
    Then count that day as worse than lost.

  20. Progress

    by Kate Louise Wheeler

    He, who to elevate himself
    Labors with earnest will,
    Forgets, that should he wisely try
    To elevate the minds near by
    And public needs to fill,
    Will still continue to advance
    And while their cause he does enhance
    Will be their teacher still.

  21. A Halo

    by Kate Louise Wheeler

    No mortal can unhappy be
    Who lives for other's good,
    And takes an interest in the lives
    Of happy brother-hood.

    Depression that destroys the mind
    Will thereby disappear,
    And gloom will all be swept away
    In radiant atmosphere.

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