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Poems About Service

Table of Contents


  1. To a Child by William Wordsworth
  2. Service by Anna Hempstead Branch
  3. Condemned by Anonymous
  4. A Lesson by Ruby Archer
  5. How They Conjugate "To Have" by Anonymous
  6. Let Me Walk With the Men in the Road by Walter J. Gresham
  7. The Silk Worm's Will by Hannah Flagg Gould
  8. Credo by Roy Neal
  9. Service by Edgar A. Guest
  10. Progress by Kate Louise Wheeler
  11. Service by Kate Louise Wheeler
  12. One Day's Service by Amos Russel Wells
  13. Service by Georgia Douglas Johnson
  14. Love's Service by Jean Blewett
  15. What Have I Done for My Soul? by Clara Miehm

  1. To a Child

    Small service is true service

    – William Wordsworth
    To a Child
    by William Wordsworth

    Small service is true service while it lasts:
    Of humblest friends, bright creature! scorn not one:
    The daisy, by the shadow that it casts,
    Protects the lingering dewdrop from the sun.

  2. Service

    With pleased sweet looks of wonder
    He took what I could give,—
    Such words as we deny them
    only because they live.

    – Anna Hempstead Branch
    by Anna Hempstead Branch

    If I could only serve him,
    How sweet this life would be.
    Last night I dreamed my darling,
    Alive, returned to me.

    I brought him from the cupboard
    The things he liked to eat,—
    The little piece of honey,
    The rye bread and the meat.

    I sang the song he asked for
    The night he went away.
    How was it, when I loved him,
    I could have said him nay!

    I took the time to please him,
    With a hand upon his brow,
    Amid the awful leisure
    There was no hurry now.

    How strange I once denied him
    What took so little while.
    A kiss would seem so simple,
    So slight a thing a smile.

    With pleased sweet looks of wonder
    He took what I could give,—
    Such words as we deny them
    only because they live.

    The pale light of the morning
    Shone in upon the wall.
    Come back to me, my darling,
    And I will give you all.

  3. Condemned

    by Amos Russel Wells

    I know what my remorse will be,
    Then when her final pulses stir;
    "She did so many things for me,
    And I so few, so few for her."

    "Dear, patient hands that toiled so long,
    Where were your kisses, overdue?
    Dear, patient feet, so swift, so strong,
    Where was the box of nard for you?"

    On that sad day, alas! will come
    The saddest grief, the blackest blot:
    "I saw, and yet my lips were dumb;
    I knew, and yet I did it not."

  4. A Lesson

    Build as doth the lowly coral,—
    Give yourselves. That shall endure.

    – Ruby Archer
    A Lesson
    by Ruby Archer

    Would ye build that generations
    Yet to be may call you great?
    Would ye have your lives' creations
    O'er the ages tower elate?

    Hearken then a world-old moral,—
    Abnegation, meek and pure.
    Build as doth the lowly coral,—
    Give yourselves. That shall endure.

  5. How They Conjugate "To Have"

    by Amos Russel Wells

    I met a man of aspect wise
    Engaged in catching butterflies.
    "A gorgeous box-full friend," quoth I.
    "Now for what purpose sage and high
    Didst catch this lovely company?"
    "That I might have them," answered he.

    I saw a man with eager eyes
    In bookstores hunting for a prize
    Hid in the dim and dusty nooks,—
    Some rare, forgotten, worthless books.
    "What is their use, my friend, to thee?"
    "That I may have them," answered he.

    I met a weary, haggard elf
    Absorbed in reckoning up his pelf;
    As, so much gain, and so much cost,
    And so much, so much, so much lost.
    "What joy from all your golden tide?"
    "That I may have it," he replied.

    I met a man of busy hands,
    With wealth of books and friends and lands,
    Yet ever seeking some new task
    Or helpful service. "Friend," I ask,
    "Why do you toil so ceaselessly?"
    "That men may have me," answers he.

  6. Let Me Walk With the Men in the Road

    But service is found in its tenderest form
    When we walk with the crowd in the road.

    – Walter J. Gresham
    Let Me Walk With the Men in the Road
    by Walter J. Gresham

    'Tis only a half truth the poet has sung
    Of the "house by the side of the way";
    Our Master had neither a house nor a home,
    But He walked with the crowd day by day.
    And I think, when I read of the poet's desire,
    That a house by the road would be good;
    But service is found in its tenderest form
    When we walk with the crowd in the road.

    So I say, let me walk with the men in the road,
    Let me seek out the burdens that crush,
    Let me speak a kind word of good cheer to the weak
    Who are falling behind in the rush.
    There are wounds to be healed, there are breaks we must mend,
    There's a cup of cold water to give;
    And the man in the road by the side of his friend
    Is the man who has learned to live.

    Then tell me no more of the house by the road.
    There is only one place I can live—
    It's there with the men who are toiling along,
    Who are needing the cheer I can give.
    It is pleasant to live in the house by the way
    And be a friend, as the poet has said;
    But the Master is bidding us, "Bear ye their load,
    For your rest waiteth yonder ahead."

    I could not remain in the house by the road
    And watch as the toilers go on,
    Their faces beclouded with pain and with sin,
    So burdened, their strength nearly gone.
    I'll go to their side, I'll speak in good cheer,
    I'll help them to carry their load;
    And I'll smile at the man in the house by the way,
    As I walk with the crowd in the road.

    Out there in the road that goes by the house,
    Where the poet is singing his song,
    I'll walk and I'll work midst the heat of the day,
    And I'll help falling brothers along—
    Too busy to live in the house by the way,
    Too happy for such an abode.
    And my heart sings its praise to the Master of all,
    Who is helping me serve in the road.

  7. The Silk-Worm's Will

    by Hannah Flagg Gould

    On a plain rush hurdle a silk-worm lay,
    When a proud young princess came that way;
    The haughty child of a human king
    Threw a sidelong glance at the humble thing,
    That received with silent gratitude
    From the mulberry leaf her simple food,
    And shrunk, half scorn and half disgust,
    Away from her sister child of the dust;
    Declaring she never yet could see
    Why a reptile form like this should be;
    And that she was not made with nerves so firm,
    As calmly to stand by a 'crawling worm!'

    With mute forbearance the silk-worm took
    The taunting words and the spurning look.
    Alike a stranger to self and pride,
    She'd no disquiet from aught beside;
    And lived of a meekness and peace possessed,
    Which these debar from the human breast.
    She only wished, for the harsh abuse,
    To find some way to become of rise
    To the haughty daughter of lordly man;
    And thus did she lay a noble plan
    To teach her wisdom and make it plain,
    That the humble worm was not made in vain;
    A plan so generous, deep and high,
    That, to carry it out, she must even die!

    'No more,' said she, 'will I drink or eat!
    I'll spin and weave me a winding sheet,
    To wrap me up from the sun's clear light, And hide thy form from her wounded sight.
    In secret then, till my end draws nigh,
    I'll toil for her; and, when I die,
    I'll leave behind, as a farewell boon
    To the proud young princess, my whole cocoon,
    To be reeled and wove to a shining lace,
    And hung in a veil o'er her scornful face!
    And when she can calmly draw her breath
    Through the very threads that have caused my death;
    When she finds, at length, she has nerves so firm,
    As to wear the shroud of a crawling worm,
    May she bear in mind, that she walks with pride
    In the winding sheet where the silk-worm died!'

  8. 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.

  9. Service

    by Edgar A. Guest

    I have no wealth of gold to give away,
    But I can pledge to worthy causes these:
    I'll give my strength, my days and hours of ease,
    My finest thought and courage when I may,
    And take some deed accomplished for my pay.
    I cannot offer much in silver fees,
    But I can serve when richer persons play,
    And with my presence fill some vacancies.

    There are some things beyond the gift of gold,
    A richer treasure's needed now and then;
    Some joys life needs which are not bought and sold—
    The high occasion often calls for men.
    Some for release from service give their pelf,
    But he gives most who freely gives himself.

  10. 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.

  11. Service

    by Kate Louise Wheeler

    If you love and trust the Saviour
    You can find enough to do;
    His good deeds and His compassion
    Will be done and felt by you.

    His great aims will all be cherished
    If with Him you're really one;
    Can you think of Christ as idle
    While so much remains undone?

    His self-sacrificing spirit
    Will be exercised by you;
    And your faith will aid you ever
    While love guides and makes it true.

    Faith and love that work together
    Will turn drudgery into joy;
    And make every service easy
    That doth trouble and annoy.

    Love will show where service waits you
    Tho' it be but word or song;
    Faith will prompt you how to do it
    Be the service short or long.

    You can never be discouraged
    While the two together blend;
    Joined to faith, love meets all trials
    And endureth to the end.

    You can leave the lower places,
    And mount upward every day;
    Winning character exalted
    If you faithfully work and pray.

    You can reach the best attainments
    Doing service that you find;
    And a worthier example
    You can leave to all mankind.

  12. One Day's Service

    by Amos Russel Wells

    Oh, to serve God for a day!
    From jubilant morn to the peace and the calm of the night
    To tread no path but His happy and blossoming way
    To seek no delight
    But the joy that is one with the joy at heaven's heart;
    Only to go where Thou art.
    O God of all blessing and beauty! to love, to obey.
    With obedience sweetened by love, and love made strong by the right;
    Not once, not once to be drunken with self,
    Or to play the hypocrite's poisoned part,
    Or to bend the knee of my soul to the passion for self,
    Or the glittering gods of the mart;
    Through each glad hour to lay on the wings of its flight
    Some flower for the angels' sight.
    Some fragrant fashion of service, scarlet and white.
    White for the pure intent, and red where the pulses start:
    Oh, if I thus could serve Him, could perfectly serve Him one day.
    I think I could perfectly serve Him forever—forever and aye.

  13. Service

    by Georgia Douglas Johnson

    When we count out our gold at the end of the day,
    And have filtered the dross that has cumbered the way,
    Oh, what were the hold of our treasury then
    Save the love we have shown to the children of men?

  14. Love's Service

    by Jean Blewett

    Your presence is a psalm of praise,
    And as its measure grandly rings
    God's finger finds my heart and plays
    A te deum upon its strings.
    I never see you but I feel
    That I in gratitude must kneel.

    Your head down-bent, the brow of snow
    Crowned with the shining braids of hair,
    To me, because I love you so,
    Is in itself a tender prayer,
    All faith, all meekness, and all trust—
    "Amen!" I cry, because I must.

    Your clear eyes hold the text apart,
    And shame my love of place and pelf
    With, "Love the Lord with all thine heart,
    And love thy neighbor as thyself!"
    Dear eyes and true,—I sorely need
    More knowledge of your gracious creed.

    About your lips the summer lies—
    Who runs may read each subtle lure
    To draw me nearer to the skies,
    And make me strong, and keep me pure.
    I loathe my worldliness and guile
    Each time your red lips on me smile.

    The benediction of your face—
    Your lifted face—doth make a road
    For white-robed peace and golden grace
    To reach my heart and take its load.
    Dear woman saint, I bow the knee,
    And give God thanks for love and thee!

  15. What Have I Done for My Soul?

    by Clara Miehm

    What have I done for my soul today?
    Have I given a helping hand?
    Have I cheered my comrade on his way?
    No—I did not understand
    The wistful look in his eager eye.
    I nodded at him and passed him by.

    What have I done for my soul today?
    When I drove thru the crowded square,
    I saw a woman in ragged array,
    Her face grim, and toilworn with care
    She was my friend in the long ago;
    I turned away—the world needn't know.

    What have I done for my soul today?
    When a lad asked a bit of advice,
    I yelled at him in a surly way,
    But now I am paying the price.
    My errant soul has returned to ask,
    Is kindness such a stupendous task?

    What do I do for my soul each day?
    Do I try to understand
    The common need of the common clay,
    That is shaped by the master hand?
    Do I dwarf my soul by a heedless deed,
    Or is loyal service and love my creed?

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