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Poems About Waste

Table of Contents

  1. The Crust of Bread by Anonymous
  2. The Old Stone Quarry by Ellen P. Allerton
  3. The Pin by Ann Taylor

  1. The Crust of Bread

    For wilful waste makes woeful want,

    – Anonymous
    The Crust of Bread
    by Anonymous

    I must not throw upon the floor
    The crust I cannot eat;
    For many little hungry ones
    Would think it quite a treat.

    My parents labor very hard
    To get me wholesome food;
    Then I must never waste a bit
    That would do others good.

    For wilful waste makes woeful want,
    And I may live to say,
    Oh! how I wish I had the bread
    That once I threw away!

  2. The Old Stone Quarry

    by Ellen P. Allerton

    Grown with grass and with tangled weeds,
    Where the blind mole hides and the rabbit feeds,
    And, unmolested, the serpent breeds.

    Edged with underwood, newly grown,
    Draped with the cloak that the years have thrown
    Round the broken gaps in the jagged stone.

    It was opened—I know not how long ago—
    Opened, and left half-worked, and so
    In this ragged hollow the rank weeds grow.

    Why lies it idle, this beautiful stone?
    Ho, for the pickaxe! One by one
    Hew out these blocks—here is work undone.

    There are possible towers in this serpent's den—
    Possible homes for homeless men.
    Who shall build them? and where? and when?

    Must they lie here still, unmarked, unsought—
    Turrets and temples, uncarved, unwrought,
    Till the end of time? 'Tis a sorrowful thought!

    All through the heats of the summer hours,
    The wild bee hums in the unplucked flowers
    That creep and bloom over unbuilt towers.

    As I sit here, perched on the grass-grown wall,
    Down to the hollow the brown leaves fall,
    Little by little covering all.

    So month after month, and year after year,
    The rank weeds creep and the leaves turn sere.
    And a thicker mantle is weaving here.

    And a day may come when the passer-by,
    Threading the underwood, then grown high,
    Shall see but a hollow, where dead leaves lie.

    There are human souls that seem to me
    Like this unwrought stone—for all you see—
    Is a shapeless quarry of what might be,

    Lying idle, and overgrown
    With tangled weeds, like this beautiful stone—
    Possible work left undone,
    Possible victories left unwon.

    And that is a waste that is worse than this;
    Sharper the edge of the hidden abyss,
    Deadlier serpents crawl and hiss.

    And a day shall come when the desolate scene,
    Though scanned by eyes that are close and keen,
    Shall show no trace of its "might have been."

  3. The Pin

    by Ann Taylor

    "Dear me! what signifies a pin,
    Wedged in a rotten board?
    I'm certain that I won't begin,
    At ten years old, to hoard;
    I never will be called a miser,
    That I'm determined," said Eliza.

    So onward tripped the little maid,
    And left the pin behind,
    Which very snug and quiet lay,
    To its hard fate resigned;
    Nor did she think (a careless chit)
    'Twas worth her while to stoop for it.

    Next day a party was to ride,
    To see an air balloon;
    And all the company beside
    Were dressed and ready soon;
    But she a woeful case was in,
    For want of just a single pin.

    In vain her eager eyes she brings,
    To every darksome crack;
    There was not one, and yet her things
    Were dropping off her back.
    She cut her pincushion in two,
    But no, not one had fallen through.

    At last, as hunting on the floor,
    Over a crack she lay,
    The carriage rattled to the door,
    Then rattled fast away;
    But poor Eliza was not in,
    For want of just—a single pin!

    There's hardly anything so small,
    So trifling or so mean,
    That we may never want at all,
    For service unforeseen;
    And wilful waste, depend upon't,
    Brings, almost always, woeful want!

  4. To gain the friendship of the world,
    How vain the ceaseless strife;
    We sow the sand, we grasp the wind,
    We waste the life of life.

    – Lydia Howard Sigourney
    Love Not The World

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