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Poems About Mistakes

Table of Contents

  1. I Marred a Day by Annette Wynne
  2. The Flying Squirrel by Amos Russel Wells
  3. The Broken Pinion by Hezekiah Butterworth
  4. Conscience and Future Judgement by Anonymous
  5. A New Leaf by Carrie Shaw Rice
  6. The Land of Beginning Again by Louisa Fletcher Tarkington
  7. The Fool's Prayer by Edward R. Sill
  8. The Sifting of Peter by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  9. Resolve by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
  10. His Other Chance by Edgar A. Guest
  11. The Drop of Honey by Albert Moore Longley
  12. I Wonder Did Each Flower Know? by Annette Wynne
  13. Mistakes by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

  1. I Marred a Day

    by Annette Wynne

    I marred a day, a shining day,
    (God lent it clean and bright);
    I sent it lusterless away,
    I dimmed its gracious light;
    And God I know was sorrowing
    For that poor soiled and tarnished thing.

    In everlasting tenderness
    Another day of light
    God sent; each hour I strove to bless,
    I kept it clean and bright;
    And God was glad—it shone away
    The meanness of my other day.

  2. The Flying Squirrel

    by Amos Russel Wells

    Down the chimney's treacherous way
    A flying squirrel fell one day,
    And, terror-stricken, flew around
    With scratching sound and bumping sound,
    Behind the pictures, chairs, and vases,
    In all obscure, protecting places.
    And how persistently, with shout,
    And flapping cloth and poker stout,
    We tried to drive the rascal out

    There was the sunny world outside,
    And doors and windows open wide,
    Yet that poor beastie, foolish-wise,
    With quivering breast and frightened eyes,
    His little body one wild fear.
    He darted there and scuttled here,
    But shunned, the silly! o'er and o'er,
    The open windows and the door.

    Till last a nervous, lucky blow
    Worked the poor fool a happy woe,—
    Struck him to floor, a furry heap,
    And there he lay as if asleep.
    We took him up with tender care
    And bore him to the outer air;
    When suddenly his heady eyes
    Snapped open in a glad surprise;
    "Too good," he thought it, "to be true.
    But yet I'll try," and off he flew!

    And so, dear human squirrels,we,
    Caught where it is not best to be,
    By some mischance or likelier sin,
    The same wild blundering course begin.
    We rave, we faint, we fly, we fall,
    We dash our heads against the wall,
    We scramble there, we scurry here.
    We palpitate in nameless fear,
    In stupid corners still we hide,
    And miss the windows, open wide.

    Till last, struck down by some stern blow
    That seems a climax to our woe,
    As there we lie in helplessness,
    God's great, strong hand of tenderness
    Closes around us, lifts us high,
    And bears us forth beneath the sky,
    And leaves us where we ought to be,
    Under blue heavens, glad, and free.

  3. The Broken Pinion

    by Hezekiah Butterworth

    I walked through the woodland meadows,
    Where sweet the thrushes sing;
    And I found on a bed of mosses
    A bird with a broken wing.
    I healed its wound, and each morning
    It sang its old sweet strain,
    But the bird with a broken pinion
    Never soared as high again.

    I found a young life broken
    By sin's seductive art;
    And touched with a Christlike pity,
    I took him to my heart.
    He lived with a noble purpose
    And struggled not in vain;
    But the life that sin had stricken
    Never soared as high again.

    But the bird with a broken pinion
    Kept another from the snare;
    And the life that sin had stricken
    Raised another from despair.
    Each loss has its compensation,
    There is healing for every pain;
    But the bird with a broken pinion
    Never soars as high again.

  4. Conscience and Future Judgement

    by Anonymous

    I sat alone with my conscience,
    In a place where time had ceased,
    And we talked of my former living
    In the land where the years increased;
    And I felt I should have to answer
    The question it might put to me,
    And to face the question and answer
    Throughout an eternity.

    The ghosts of forgotten actions
    Came floating before my sight,
    And things that I thought had perished
    Were alive with a terrible might;
    And the vision of life's dark record
    Was an awful thing to face—
    Alone with my conscience sitting
    In that solemnly silent place.

    And I thought of a far-away warning,
    Of a sorrow that was to be mine,
    In a land that then was the future,
    But now is the present time;
    And I thought of my former thinking
    Of the judgment day to be;
    But sitting alone with my conscience
    Seemed judgment enough for me.

    And I wondered if there was a future
    To this land beyond the grave;
    But no one gave me an answer
    And no one came to save.
    Then I felt that the future was present,
    And the present would never go by,
    For it was but the thought of a future
    Become an eternity.

    Then I woke from my timely dreaming,
    And the vision passed away;
    And I knew the far-away warning
    Was a warning of yesterday.
    And I pray that I may not forget it
    In this land before the grave,
    That I may not cry out in the future,
    And no one come to save.

    I have learned a solemn lesson
    Which I ought to have known before,
    And which, though I learned it dreaming,
    I hope to forget no more.

    So I sit alone with my conscience
    In the place where the years increase,
    And I try to fathom the future,
    In the land where time shall cease.
    And I know of the future judgment,
    How dreadful soe'er it be,
    That to sit alone with my conscience
    Will be judgment enough for me.

  5. A New Leaf

    by Carrie Shaw Rice

    He came to my desk with, quivering lip—
    The lesson was done.
    "Dear Teacher, I want a new leaf," he said,
    "I have spoiled this one."
    I took the old leaf, stained and blotted,
    And gave him a new one all unspotted,
    And into his sad eyes smiled,
    "Do better, now, my child."

    I went to the throne with a quivering soul—
    The old year was done.
    "Dear Father, hast Thou a new leaf for me?
    I have spoiled this one."
    He took the old leaf, stained and blotted,
    And gave me a new one all unspotted,
    And into my sad heart smiled,
    "Do better, now, my child."

  6. The Land of Beginning Again

    by Louisa Fletcher Tarkington

    I wish there were some wonderful place
    Called the Land of Beginning Again,
    Where all our mistakes and all our heartaches,
    And all our poor, selfish griefs
    Could be dropped, like a shabby old coat, at the door,
    And never put on again.

    I wish we could come on it all unaware,
    Like the hunter who finds a lost trail;
    And I wish that the one whom our blindness had done
    The greatest injustice of all
    Could be at the gate like the old friend that waits
    For the comrade he's gladdest to hail.

    We would find the things we intended to do,
    But forgot and remembered too late—
    Little praises unspoken, little promises broken,
    And all of the thousand and one
    Little duties neglected that might have perfected
    The days of one less fortunate.

    It wouldn't be possible not to be kind.
    In the Land of Beginning Again;
    And the ones we misjudged and the ones whom we grudged
    Their moments of victory here,
    Would find the grasp of our loving handclasp
    More than penitent lips could explain.

    For what had been hardest we'd know had been best,
    And what had seemed loss would be gain,
    For there isn't a sting that will not take wing
    When we've faced it and laughed it away;
    And I think that the laughter is most what we're after,
    In the Land of Beginning Again.

    So I wish that there were some wonderful place
    Called the Land of Beginning Again,
    Where all our mistakes and all our heartaches,
    And all our poor, selfish griefs
    Could be dropped, like a ragged old coat, at the door,
    And never put on again.

  7. The Fool's Prayer

    by Edward R. Sill

    The royal feast was done; the King
    Sought some new sport to banish care,
    And to his jester cried: "Sir Fool,
    Kneel now, and make for us a prayer!"

    The jester doffed his cap and bells,
    And stood the mocking court before;
    They could not see the bitter smile
    Behind the painted grin he wore.

    He bowed his head, and bent his knee
    Upon the Monarch's silken stool;
    His pleading voice arose: "O Lord,
    Be merciful to me, a fool!

    "No pity, Lord, could change the heart
    From red with wrong to white as wool;
    The rod must heal the sin: but Lord,
    Be merciful to me, a fool!

    "'T is not by guilt the onward sweep
    Of truth and right, O Lord, we stay;
    'T is by our follies that so long
    We hold the earth from heaven away.

    "These clumsy feet, still in the mire,
    Go crushing blossoms without end;
    These hard, well-meaning hands we thrust
    Among the heart-strings of a friend.

    "The ill-timed truth we might have kept—
    Who knows how sharp it pierced and stung?
    The word we had not sense to say—
    Who knows how grandly it had rung!

    "Our faults no tenderness should ask.
    The chastening stripes must cleanse them all;
    But for our blunders — oh, in shame
    Before the eyes of heaven we fall.

    "Earth bears no balsam for mistakes;
    Men crown the knave, and scourge the tool
    That did his will; but Thou, O Lord,
    Be merciful to me, a fool!"

    The room was hushed; in silence rose
    The King, and sought his gardens cool,
    And walked apart, and murmured low,
    "Be merciful to me, a fool!"

    13"But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.' 14"I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted."

    – Luke 18:13-14
    The Bible, NIV
  8. The Sifting of Peter

    by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    In St. Luke's Gospel we are told
    How Peter in the days of old
    Was sifted;
    And now, though ages intervene,
    Sin is the same, while time and scene
    Are shifted.

    Satan desires us, great and small,
    As wheat to sift us, and we all
    Are tempted;
    Not one, however rich or great,
    Is by his station or estate
    Exempted.

    No house so safely guarded is
    But he, by some device of his,
    Can enter;
    No heart hath armor so complete
    But he can pierce with arrows fleet
    Its centre.

    For all at last the cock will crow,
    Who hear the warning voice, but go
    Unheeding,
    Till thrice and more they have denied
    The Man of Sorrows, crucified
    And bleeding.

    One look of that pale, suffering face
    Will make us feel the deep disgrace
    Of weakness;
    We shall be sifted till the strength
    Of self-conceit be changed at length
    To meekness.

    Wounds of the soul, though healed, will ache;
    The reddening scars remain, and make
    Confession;
    Lost innocence returns no more; We are not what we were before Transgression.

    But noble souls, through dust and heat,
    Rise from disaster and defeat
    The stronger,
    And conscious still of the divine
    Within them, lie on earth supine
    No longer.

  9. Resolve

    by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

    Build on resolve, and not upon regret,
    The structure of thy future. Do not grope
    Among the shadows of old sins, but let
    Thine own soul's light shine on the path of hope
    And dissipate the darkness. Waste no tears
    Upon the blotted record of lost years,
    But turn the leaf, and smile, oh, smile, to see
    The fair white pages that remain for thee.

    Prate not of thy repentance. But believe
    The spark divine dwells in thee: let it grow.
    That which the upreaching spirit can achieve
    The grand and all-creative forces know;
    They will assist and strengthen as the light
    Lifts up the acorn to the oak tree's height.
    Thou hast but to resolve, and lo! God's whole
    Great universe shall fortify thy soul.

  10. His Other Chance

    by Edgar A. Guest

    He was down and out, and his pluck was gone,
    And he said to me in a gloomy way:
    "I've wasted my chances, one by one,
    And I'm just no good, as the people say.
    Nothing ahead, and my dreams all dust,
    Though once there was something I might have been,
    But I wasn't game, and I broke my trust,
    And I wasn't straight and I wasn't clean."

    "You're pretty low down," says I to him,
    "But nobody's holding you there, my friend.
    Life is a stream where men sink or swim,
    And the drifters come to a sorry end;
    But there's two of you living and breathing still—
    The fellow you are, and he's tough to see,
    And another chap, if you've got the will,
    The man that you still have a chance to be."

    He laughed with scorn. "Is there two of me?
    I thought I'd murdered the other one.
    I once knew a chap that I hoped to be,
    And he was decent, but now he's gone."
    "Well," says I, "it may seem to you
    That life has little of joy in store,
    But there's always something you still can do,
    And there's never a man but can try once more.

  11. The Drop of Honey

    by Albert Moore Longley

    Sweet flowers, by light-winged zephyrs softly fanned,
    By busy insects, humming o er you, scanned;
    In forest glade, and on the water strand,
    In loveliness ye bloom.
    Alas! ye're faded now; for Autumn's breath
    Hath swept the glade, the strand, and scattered death
    On every hand, and with its frosty teeth
    Hath nipped you for the tomb.

    But flowers, your sweets ye've left behind, to cheer
    The heart and feast the taste we'd shed a tear;
    For like the good, whose good works still live here,
    Ye fade—and droop—and die:
    And though ye're gone, there yet remains, to lure
    The most fastidious, a liquid pure,
    Which bursts in plenty forth, so sweet, from your
    Ambrosial nectary.

    From out the fractured cell, the honey-drop
    Was gushing clear, and I essayed to stop
    Its downward course; so with a hasty scoop
    I caught the limpid store:
    But, O within that drop there lurked, unseen,
    A sting acute, and poisonous; which e'en
    Did pierce my mouth; the smart how keen!
    My soul cried out—no more!

    Still to my smarting palate it would cling,
    As 'twere exulting in the pain 't could bring;
    Till gladly I drew forth the ruthless thing,
    And ever since that day,
    Careful am I, when I do honey eat,
    To know if it has not a sting, to cheat
    Me of the joy that s oft so passing sweet,
    And dash the cup away.

    Moral

    Examine well the honey ere you taste;
    The sweetest pleasures here, if sought in haste,
    May give you pain—nay, they will often bring,
    Unseen by careless eyes, a deadly sting.

  12. I Wonder Did Each Flower Know?

    by Annette Wynne

    I wonder did each flower know
    As well as now just how to grow
    In that far first early spring
    When the world was made.

    Or did they make mistakes as I
    Make very often when I try
    At first, and try again,—perhaps just so,
    As you and I, they learned to grow.

  13. Mistakes

    by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

    God sent us here to make mistakes,
    To strive, to fail, to re-begin,
    To taste the tempting fruit of sin,
    And find what bitter food it makes.

    To miss the path, to go astray,
    To wander blindly in the night;
    But, searching, praying for the light,
    Until at last we find the way.

    And looking back along the past,
    We know we needed all the strain
    Of fear and doubt and strife and pain
    To make us value peace, at last.

    Who fails, finds later triumph sweet;
    Who stumbles once, walks then with care,
    And knows the place to cry "Beware"
    To other unaccustomed feet.

    Through strife the slumbering soul awakes,
    We learn on error's troubled route
    The truths we could not prize without
    The sorrow of our sad mistakes.