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Poems About Persepective

Table of Contents

  1. Comparison by Laurence Dunbar
  2. Delight becomes pictorial by Emily Dickinson
  3. If All the Skies by Henry van Dyke
  4. The Heritage by James Russell Lowell
  5. Small Beginnings by Charles Mackay
  6. Life Sculpture by George Washington Doane
  7. There Is a Difference by William Henry Dawson
  8. The Noble Nature by Ben Jonson
  9. Purpose by Anonymous
  10. Look For Sunshine, Not For Clouds by Edwin Oscar Gale
  11. The Stone in the Road by John Edward Everett
  12. Windows by Jessie Belle Rittenhouse
  13. Golden Hair by F. Burge Smith
  14. Cleon and I by Charles Mackay
  15. Be Glad and Thankful by Anonymous
  16. Charity by Hezekiah Jordan Leavitt
  17. Health and Wealth by Anonymous
  18. Point of View

  19. Vision by Jessie Belle Rittenhouse
  20. Measurement by Ella Hines Stratton

  1. Comparison

    by Paul Laurence Dunbar

    The sky of brightest gray seems dark
    To one whose sky was ever white.
    To one who never knew a spark,
    Thro' all his life, of love or light,
    The grayest cloud seems over-bright.

    The robin sounds a beggar's note
    Where one the nightingale has heard,
    But he for whom no silver throat
    Its liquid music ever stirred,
    Deems robin still the sweetest bird.

  2. Delight becomes pictorial

    by Emily Dickinson

    Delight becomes pictorial
    When viewed through pain, —
    More fair, because impossible
    That any gain.

    The mountain at a given distance
    In amber lies;
    Approached, the amber flits a little, —
    And that 's the skies!

  3. If All the Skies

    If life were always merry,
    Our souls would seek relief,
    And rest from weary laughter
    In the quiet arms of grief.

    – Henry van Dyke
    If All the Skies
    by Henry van Dyke

    If all the skies were sunshine,
    Our faces would be fain
    To feel once more upon them
    The cooling splash of rain.

    If all the world were music,
    Our hearts would often long
    For one sweet strain of silence,
    To break the endless song.

    If life were always merry,
    Our souls would seek relief,
    And rest from weary laughter
    In the quiet arms of grief.

  4. The Heritage

    by James Russell Lowell

    The rich man's son inherits lands,
    And piles of brick, and stone, and gold,
    And he inherits soft white hands,
    And tender flesh that fears the cold,
    Nor dares to wear a garment old;
    A heritage, it seems to me,
    One scarce would wish to hold in fee.

    The rich man's son inherits cares;
    The bank may break, the factory burn,
    A breath may burst his bubble shares,
    And soft white hands could hardly earn
    A living that would serve his turn;
    A heritage, it seems to me,
    One scarce would wish to hold in fee.

    The rich man's son inherits wants,
    His stomach craves for dainty fare;
    With sated heart, he hears the pants
    Of toiling hinds with brown arms bare!
    And wearies in his easy-chair;
    A heritage, it seems to me,
    One scarce would wish to hold in fee.

    What doth the poor man's son inherit?
    Stout muscles and a sinewy heart,
    A hardy frame, a hardier spirit;
    King of two hands, he does his part
    In every useful toil and art;
    A heritage, it seems to me,
    A king might wish to hold in fee.

    What doth the poor man's son inherit?
    Wishes o'erjoyed with humble things,
    A rank adjudged by toil-won merit,
    Content that from employment springs,
    A heart that in his labor sings;
    A heritage, it seems to me,
    A king might wish to hold in fee.

    What doth the poor man's son inherit?
    A patience learned of being poor,
    Courage, if sorrow come, to bear it,
    A fellow-feeling that is sure
    To make the outcast bless his door;
    A heritage, it seems to me,
    A king might wish to hold in fee.

    O rich man's son! there is a toil
    That with all others level stands:
    Large charity doth never soil,
    But only whiten soft, white hands,—
    This is the best crop from thy lands;
    A heritage, it seems to me,
    Worth being rich to hold in fee.

    O poor man's son! scorn not thy state;
    There is worse weariness than thine
    In merely being rich and great:
    Toil only gives the soul to shine,
    And makes rest fragrant and benign;
    A heritage, it seems to me,
    Worth being poor to hold in fee.

    Both, heirs to some six feet of sod,
    Are equal in the earth at last;
    Both, children of the same dear God,
    Prove title to your heirship vast
    By record of a well-filled past;
    A heritage, it seems to me,
    Well worth a life to hold in fee.

  5. Small Beginnings

    by Charles Mackay

    A traveler on the dusty road
    Strewed acorns on the lea;
    And one took root and sprouted up,
    And grew into a tree.
    Love sought its shade, at evening time,
    To breathe his early vows;
    And age was pleased, in heats of noon,
    To bask beneath its boughs;
    The dormouse loved its dangling twigs,
    The birds sweet music bore;
    It stood a glory in its place,
    A blessing evermore.

    A little spring had lost its way
    Amid the grass and fern,
    A passing stranger scooped a well
    Where weary men might turn;
    He walled it in, and hung with care
    A ladle at the brink;
    He thought not of the deed he did,
    But judged that all might drink.
    He paused again, and lo! the well,
    By summer never dried,
    Had cooled ten thousand parching tongues
    And saved a life beside.

    A dreamer dropped a random thought;
    'Twas old, and yet 'twas new;
    A simple fancy of the brain,
    But strong in being true.
    It shone upon a genial mind,
    And, lo! its light became
    A lamp of life, a beacon ray,
    A monitory flame;
    The thought was small, its issue great;
    A watch-fire on the hill;
    It shed its radiance far adown,
    And cheers the valley still.

    A nameless man, amid a crowd
    That thronged the daily mart,
    Let fall a word of Hope and Love,
    Unstudied from the heart;
    A whisper on the tumult thrown,
    A transitory breath—
    It raised a brother from the dust,
    It saved a soul from death.
    O germ! O fount! O word of love!
    O thought at random cast!
    Ye were but little at the first,
    But mighty at the last.

  6. Life Sculpture

    by George Washington Doane

    Chisel in hand stood a sculptor boy
    With his marble block before him,
    And his eyes lit up with a smile of joy,
    As an angel-dream passed o’er him.

    He carved the dream on that shapeless stone,
    With many a sharp incision;
    With heaven’s own flight the sculpture shone,—
    He’d caught that angel-vision.

    Children of life are we, as we stand
    With our lives uncarved before us,
    Waiting the hour when, at God’s command,
    Our life-dream shall pass o’er us.

    If we carve it then on the yielding stone,
    With many a sharp incision,
    Its heavenly beauty shall be our own,—
    Our lives, that angel-vision.

    Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.

    – Isaiah 64:8
    The Bible, NIV
  7. There Is a Difference

    There are others not so sour,
    Who find on every thorn a flower,

    – William Henry Dawson
    There Is a Difference
    by William Henry Dawson

    There is cause for many stings,
    In the way some folks do things,
    Some go at it "hammer 'n' tongs,"
    Some with curses, some with songs;
    But to each some trait belongs,

    Some have soured on everything,
    Can't find aught without a sting,
    There are others not so sour,
    Who find on every thorn a flower,
    And for good they are a power,

    As I've traveled Iife's pathway,
    I've found grumbling doesn't pay,
    Of the kicker folks have tired;
    He's no longer much admired,
    From good company he's been "fired,"

    As I walk along the street,
    I look for the good and sweet,
    All the sour ones I pass by,
    And the only reason why—
    I couldn't like them if I'd try,

    So, my friend, take my advice,
    Don't let me have to tell you twice,
    If you would ever happy be,
    Don't be sour with all you see,
    But be joyous, happy and free.

    We cannot make bargains for blisses,
    Nor catch them like fishes in nets;
    And sometimes the thing our life misses
    Helps more than the thing which it gets.

    – Alice Cary
    Nobility
  8. The Noble Nature

    by Ben Jonson

    It is not growing like a tree
    In bulk, doth make Man better be;
    Or standing long an oak, three hundred year,
    To fall a log at last, dry, bald, and sere:
    A lily of a day
    Is fairer far in May,
    Although it fall and die that night—
    It was the plant and flower of Light
    In small proportions we just beauties see;
    And in short measures life may perfect be.

  9. Purpose

    by Anonymous

    Deeply and long the sap must flow
    Ere the merest layer of elm can grow.

    Many a wave's recurrent shock
    Is needed to smooth the tiniest rock.

    Thousands of leaves must fade and fall
    To make the mold by the garden wall.

    Thus, as the patient seasons roll,
    Slowly is fashioned a human soul.

    Purpose and failure and purpose still,
    Steadily moved by a quiet will,—

    Layer on layer in sturdy way,
    Hardly seen the growth of a day,—

    Times of failure and fear and fall,
    But one strong tendency through it all,—

    God and purpose and sun by sun
    Reach the stars before they are done!

  10. Ode

    by Arthur O'Shaughnessy

    We are the music-makers,
    And we are the dreamers of dreams,
    Wandering by lone sea-breakers
    And sitting by desolate streams;
    World losers and world forsakers,
    On whom the pale moon gleams:
    Yet we are the movers and shakers
    Of the world for ever, it seems.

    With wonderful deathless ditties
    We build up the world’s great cities.
    And out of a fabulous story
    We fashion an empire’s glory:
    One man with a dream, at pleasure,
    Shall go forth and conquer a crown;
    And three with a new song’s measure
    Can trample an empire down.

    We, in the ages lying
    In the buried past of the earth,
    Built Nineveh with our sighing,
    And Babel itself with our mirth;
    And o’erthrew them with prophesying
    To the old of the new world’s worth;
    For each age is a dream that is dying,
    Or one that is coming to birth.

  11. The Fly

    by Walter De la Mare

    How large unto the tiny fly
    Must little things appear!—
    A rosebud like a feather bed,
    Its prickle like a spear;

    A dewdrop like a looking-glass,
    A hair like golden wire;
    The smallest grain of mustard-seed
    As fierce as coals of fire;

    A loaf of bread, a lofty hill;
    A wasp, a cruel leopard;
    And specks of salt as bright to see
    As lambkins to a shepherd.

  12. Look For Sunshine, Not For Clouds

    by Edwin Oscar Gale

    Look not for things of which you can complain,
    Nor watch for clouds, unless in want of rain.
    But search ye rather what the heart may cheer,
    Then life's rough road much smoother will appear.

  13. The Stone in the Road

    by John Edward Everett

    Up hill, with heavy load,
    A farmer's wheels turned round;
    A stone was in the road,
    At which the farmer frowned.

    At once, with snap and crack,
    The shaft gave way and dropped;
    The wagon staggered back,
    But struck the stone and stopped.

    The stone, frowned on at first,
    Now held the wagon fast;
    The stone the farmer cursed,
    Reclaimed his load at last.

    Through life, repeatedly,
    The evils help and bless,
    And hindrance proves to be
    A rock of sure success.

  14. Windows

    by Jessie Belle Rittenhouse

    I looked through others' windows
    On an enchanted earth,
    But out of my own window—
    Solitude and dearth.

    And yet there is a mystery
    I cannot understand—
    That others through my window
    See an enchanted land.

  15. Golden Hair

    by Author

    Golden Hair climbed upon Grandpapa’s knee,
    Dear little Golden Hair! tired was she,
    All the day busy as busy could be.

    Up in the morning as soon as ’twas light.
    Out with the birds and the butterflies bright,
    Skipping about till the coming of night.

    Grandpapa toyed with the curls on her head:
    “What has my baby been doing, ”he said,
    “Since she arose, with the sun, from her bed?”

    “Pitty much,” answered the sweet little one;
    “I cannot tell so much things I have done—
    Played with my dolly, and feeded my Bun.

    “And then I have jumped with my little jump-rope,
    And then I made, out of some water and soap,
    Bootiful worlds, mamma’s castles of hope.

    I afterward have readed in my picture book,
    And Bella and I, we went down to look
    For smooth little stones by the side of the brook.

    “Then I comed home, and I eated my tea,
    And then I climbed up on Grandpapa’s knee.
    And I jes’ as tired as tired can be.”

    Lower and lower the little head pressed,
    Until it drooped upon Grandpapa’s breast;
    Dear little Golden Hair! sweet be thy rest.

    We are but children; the things that we do
    Are as sports of the baby to the infinite view.
    That marks all our weakness, and pities it, too.

    God grant that when night overshadows our way,
    And we shall be called to account for our day,
    It shall find us as guiltless as Golden Hair’s lay.

  16. Cleon and I

    by Charles Mackay

    Cleon hath ten thousand acres,
    Ne'er a one have I;
    Cleon dwelleth in a palace,
    In a cottage, I;
    Cleon hath a dozen fortunes,
    Not a penny, I,
    Yet the poorer of the twain is
    Cleon, and not I.

    Cleon, true, possesseth acres,
    But the landscape, I;
    Half the charms to me it yieldeth
    Money cannot buy;
    Cleon harbors sloth and dullness,
    Freshening vigor, I;
    He in velvet, I in fustian—
    Richer man am I.

    Cleon is a slave to grandeur,
    Free as thought am I;
    Cleon fees a score of doctors,
    Need of none have I;
    Wealth-surrounded, care-environed,
    Cleon fears to die;
    Death may come—he'll find me ready,
    Happier man am I.

    Cleon sees no charms in nature,
    In a daisy, I;
    Cleon hears no anthems ringing
    'Twixt the sea and sky;
    Nature sings to me forever,
    Earnest listener, I;
    State for state, with all attendants—
    Who would change?—Not I.


    Oh, a trouble's a ton, or a trouble's an ounce,
    Or a trouble is what you make it,
    And it isn't the fact that you're hurt that counts,
    But only how did you take it?

    – Edmund Vance Cooke
    How Did You Die?

  17. Charity

    by Hezekiah Jordan Leavitt

    The oak that grows on the mountain
    Has many a twist and crook,—
    Stunted, and gnarled, and knotty,
    With never a pleasant look;
    For by every storm it is beaten,
    And beset by every blast;
    And the soil is cold and sterile
    Wherein its roots are cast.

    But the oak that grows in the valley
    Is a fair and shapely tree;
    Straight, and tall, and majestic
    As ever an oak should be!
    For 'tis fed by the land's best fatness
    And sheltered from every storm,
    With never a blast of the mountain wind
    To mar its graceful form.

    Yet the stunted oak of the mountain
    With as fair a form was blest,
    When, a young and tender sapling,
    It clung to its mother's breast;
    And had it grown in the valley,
    And been fanned by the tempered breeze,
    High and wide it had towered in pride,
    A giant among the trees!

  18. Health and Wealth

    We squander health in search of wealth;
    We scheme and toil and save;
    Then squander wealth in search of health,
    But only find a grave.

    - Anonymous
    Health and Wealth
    by Anonymous

    We squander health in search of wealth;
    We scheme and toil and save;
    Then squander wealth in search of health,
    But only find a grave.
    We live, and boast of what we own;
    We die, and only get a stone.

  19. Point of View

  20. Vision

    by Jessie Belle Rittenhouse

    I came to the mountains for beauty,
    And I find here the toiling folk,
    On sparse little farms in the valleys,
    Wearing their days like a yoke.

    White clouds fill the valleys at morning;
    They are round like great billows at sea,
    And roll themselves up to the hill-tops,
    Still round as great billows can be.

    The mists fill the valleys at evening;
    They are blue as the smoke in the fall,
    And spread all the hills with a tenuous scarf
    That touches the hills not at all.

    These lone folk have looked on them daily.
    Yet I see in their faces no light;
    Oh, how can I show them the mountains
    That are round them by day and by night!

  21. Measurement

    by Ella Hines Stratton

    Great tasks are but seldom given out,
    Great deeds are but for the few,
    Yet the little acts, not talked about,
    May need a faith as true.

    Some things are better for being small,
    For a breath who wants a cyclone?
    And the flower which would die in a water-fall
    Grows bright with a drop alone.

    The small is not always a little thing—
    The stroke of a pen may move
    A crown from off the brow of a king,
    A government from its groove.

    At times our measurement cannot be right,
    For, when tried by the Master's test,
    So little a gift as a widow's mite
    Out-balances all the rest.

    And whether a thing be great or small
    As none of us may plan,
    It is safe to do, what we do at all,
    The very best that we can.