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Positive Poems

Table of Contents

  1. The Hearty Hen by Amos Russel Wells
  2. The Secret of It by Amos Russel Wells
  3. Open Hearted by Charles Swain
  4. How Did You Die? by Edmund Vance Cooke
  5. "A Dog's Life" by Anonymous
  6. Credo by Roy Neal
  7. Cheer Up! by Anonymous
  8. Life Music by Ruby Archer
  9. When My Ship Comes In by Robert Jones Burdette
  10. There Is a Difference by William Henry Dawson
  11. Resignation by William Henry Dawson
  12. The Blind Boy by Colley Cibber
  13. Brown's Vacation by Anonymous
  14. Keep a Bright Face by Kate Slaughter McKinney
  15. I Will Be Worthy of It by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
  16. Life by Edgar A. Guest
  17. Cheerfulness by Edwin Oscar Gale
  18. Look For Sunshine, Not For Clouds by Edwin Oscar Gale
  19. Foreboding by Ellen P. Allerton
  20. Good Company by Anonymous

Attitude

  1. The Hearty Hen

    by Amos Russel Wells

    A happy old hen met a discontented duck.
    Cluck! cluck! Quack! quack! quack!
    Said she "I always have the very worst of luck.
    Quack! quack! quack!"
    Said she, "Of happiness I never lack!
    Cluck! cluck! cluck!"

    "But what do you do when it rains all day?
    Quack! quack! quack!"
    "I find a cozy corner and there I stay!
    Cluck! cluck! cluck!"

    "And what do you do when the sun is hot?
    Quack! quack! quack!"
    "My chicks and I find a shady spot!
    Cluck! cluck! cluck!"

    "And what will you do when you're killed to be eaten?
    Quack! quack! quack!"
    "I'll make a potpie that can't be beaten!
    Cluck! cluck! cluck!"

  2. The Secret of It

    "And why are my days so often, I pray,
    Filled full of clouds and of gloom?"
    "Because you go at the break of day
    And open the wrong heart-room."

    – Anonymous
    The Secret of It
    by Amos Russel Wells

    "Where does the clerk of the weather store
    The days that are sunny and fair?"
    "In your heart is a room with a close shut door
    And all of those days are there."

    "Where does the clerk of the weather keep
    The days that are dreary and blue?"
    "In a second room in your heart they sleep,
    And you have the keys of the two."

    "And why are my days so often, I pray,
    Filled full of clouds and of gloom?"
    "Because you go at the break of day
    And open the wrong heart-room."

  3. Open Hearted

    by Charles Swain

    If you wish to be happy at home,
    Then your heart to that wish is the door—
    Keep it open—and angels may come,
    And enter, and dwell evermore!
    O'er each feeling a ray will be cast,
    As if lit by some magical gem;
    You will think you've found Heaven at last,
    But the angels have brought it with them.

    Keep it open—and friendship and love
    And happiness—all—will be thine:
    A gleam of Elysium above!
    A spark of the spirit divine!
    Keep it shut—and then Pride will have birth,
    And Envy—and all we condemn;
    You will think you've perdition on earth,
    Pride and Envy have brought it with them.

    The world will seem colder each day;
    'Tis an image those demons but throw,
    Cast your pride and your envy away—
    And the world's seeming coldness will go.
    Oh! 'tis well to be happy at home,
    And to this your own heart is the door;
    Keep it open and angels may come
    And enter, and dwell evermore.

  4. How Did You Die?

    by Edmund Vance Cooke

    Did you tackle that trouble that came your way
    With a resolute heart and cheerful?
    Or hide your face from the light of day
    With a craven soul and fearful?
    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?

    You are beaten to earth? Well, well, what's that!
    Come up with a smiling face.
    It's nothing against you to fall down flat,
    But to lie there—that's disgrace.
    The harder you're thrown, why the higher you bounce
    Be proud of your blackened eye!
    It isn't the fact that you're licked that counts;
    It's how did you fight and why?

    And though you be done to the death, what then?
    If you battled the best you could,
    If you played your part in the world of men,
    Why, the Critic will call it good.
    Death comes with a crawl, or comes with a pounce,
    And whether he's slow or spry,
    It isn't the fact that you're dead that counts,
    But only, how did you die?

  5. "A Dog's Life"

    by Anonymous

    Yours a dog's life, do you moan?
    Courage, brother! cease to groan.
    Many men, as on they jog,
    Live much worse than any dog.

    Yours a dog's life? Then, my boy,
    It's a life crammed full of joy!—
    Merry breezes, meadows fair,
    Birds and brooks and sunny air.

    Dogs? why, dogs are never sad!
    See them capering like mad!
    See them frisk their jolly way
    Through the livelong laughing day!

    Dog's life? Then you'll never rust.
    Dog's life? Then you'll hope and trust;
    Then you'll say in jaunty glee,
    "Bones have been, and bones will be."

    Cheery, active, trusting, true,—
    There's a canine goal for you!
    Live a dog's life, if you can:
    You will be the better man!

  6. 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.

  7. Cheer Up!

    by Amos Russel Wells

    Cheer up! for the sun is a-shining
    Somewhere, in the heart of the sky;
    Cheer up! for the folly of whining
    Is close to the sin of a lie.
    Cheer up! for the burden of sorrow
    Has ever a coming relief;
    Cheer up! there's a brighter to-morrow
    Cheer up! there's an ending of grief.

    Cheer up! or the present is wasted,
    The beautiful, only, to-day;
    Cheer up! till a beaker is tasted
    Why turn in abhorrence away
    Cheer up! for good sense is a leaven
    To lighten the load of a fear;
    Cheer up! for all God and all heaven
    Are offered, and eager, and here.

  8. Life Music

    by Ruby Archer

    We cannot all be nightingales;
    But minor minstrelsy,
    Where often splendid solo fails,
    Will comfort gratefully.

    And though a strong, high melody
    The world I may not bring,
    In alto through the harmony
    Contented I will sing.

  9. When My Ship Comes In

    by Robert Jones Burdette

    Somewhere, out on the blue sea sailing,
    Where the winds dance and spin;
    Beyond the reach of my eager hailing,
    Over the breakers' din;
    Out where the dark storm-clouds are lifting,
    Out where the blinding fog is drifting,
    Out where the treacherous sand is shifting,
    My ship is coming in.

    O, I have watched till my eyes were aching,
    Day after weary day;
    O, I have hoped till my heart was breaking
    While the long nights ebbed away;
    Could I but know where the waves had tossed her,
    Could I but know what storms had crossed her,
    Could I but know where the winds had lost her,
    Out in the twilight gray!

    But though the storms her course have altered,
    Surely the port she'll win,
    Never my faith in my ship has faltered,
    I know she is coming in.
    For through the restless ways of her roaming,
    Through the mad rush of the wild waves foaming,
    Through the white crest of the billows combing,
    My ship is coming in.

    Beating the tides where the gulls are flying,
    Swiftly she's coming in:
    Shallows and deeps and rocks defying,
    Bravely she's coming in.
    Precious the love she will bring to bless me,
    Snowy the arms she will bring to caress me,
    In the proud purple of kings she will dress me—
    My ship that is coming in.

    White in the sunshine her sails will be gleaming,
    See, where my ship comes in;
    At masthead and peak her colors streaming,
    Proudly she's sailing in;
    Love, hope and joy on her decks are cheering,
    Music will welcome her glad appearing,
    And my heart will sing at her stately nearing,
    When my ship comes in.

  10. 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 life'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.

  11. Resignation

    by William Henry Dawson

    Swen Kittelson, an honest Swede,
    Who owned a Minnesota farm—
    A man of thrift but not of greed,
    Who never wished his neighbor harm—
    Was never known to fume and fret;
    And when things got into a plight,
    Such as would many a man upset,
    Swen smiled and said, "Das ben ol rait,"
    No matter if the rain would fall

    For a whole week, both day and night,
    And weeds shot upward thick and tall,
    Swen smiled and said, "Das ben ol rait."
    Or if the sun shone day by day,
    Until the corn leaves rolled up tight,
    All anyone e'er heard Swen say
    Was, "Val, Ay tank das ben ol rait."
    A neighbor one day asked of Swen,
    "How can you see things in that light?"
    Swen answered, "Val, Ay tank dat ven
    God runs dose tings, Hae runs 'em rait.
    And ven Hae vants to make it rain,
    Or if Hae vants de sun to shine,
    Ay tank it's foolish to complain,
    Fer dat's God's business and not mine."
    One day Swen fell from scaffold high:
    The doctor said, "Can't live till night."
    Swen smiled and said, "Christine, don't cry,
    If I must die, das ben ol rait,"

  12. The Blind Boy

    Then let not what I cannot have
    My cheer of mind destroy:
    Whilst thus I sing, I am a king,
    Although a poor blind boy.

    – Colley Cibber
    The Blind Boy
    by Colley Cibber

    O say what is that thing called Light,
    Which I must ne'er enjoy;
    What are the blessings of the sight,
    O tell your poor blind boy!

    You talk of wondrous things you see,
    You say the sun shines bright;
    I feel him warm, but how can he,
    Or make it day or night?

    My day or night myself I make
    Whene'er I sleep or play;
    And could I ever keep awake
    With me 'twere always day.

    With heavy sighs I often hear
    You mourn my hapless woe;
    But sure with patience I can bear
    A loss I ne'er can know.

    Then let not what I cannot have
    My cheer of mind destroy:
    Whilst thus I sing, I am a king,
    Although a poor blind boy.

  13. Seeds And Thoughts

    by Amos Russell Wells

    "I've had a vacation," said Timothy Brown;
    "A fine one, although I have not left the town.
    I merely vacated my worries and fears,
    And at once became younger by fairly five years.
    I vacated my ruts, and began to enjoy
    My regular, humdrum, but useful employ.
    I changed my whole outlook and vision of life,
    And made it a pastime instead of a strife.
    I've had a vacation, not vacant, a bore,
    But fuller and freer than ever before;
    The best of vacations for fat purse or lean,—
    A change of the seeing instead of the scene."

  14. Keep a Bright Face

    by Kate Slaughter McKinney

    Keep a bright face, darling,
    Though the task is hard,
    Life holds up before you
    Many a bright-faced card.

    Though the clouds have gathered
    And darkened all the way,
    Rainbows o’er you arching
    Tinge the skies of gray.

    You have said what sunshine
    Leaked in with the rain
    Only brought new sorrow,
    Brought but grief and pain.

    Keep a bright face, darling,
    Set your scales anew,
    Weigh again the sunshine
    And the raindrops, too.

    And you’ll find your measure
    Hitherto was wrong,
    Keep a bright face, darling,
    And on your lips a song.

    Heaven decrees our burdens,
    And our faith God tries;
    But a broken spirit
    He can not despise.

    Keep a bright face, darling—
    Even while I write,
    In the fields of midnight
    Blossom stars of light.

    Though the morning cometh
    With a streak of gray,
    ’Tis a hint of sunshine
    And a perfect day.

    Journey slow and patient
    With a purpose strong.
    Keep a bright face, darling,
    On your lips a song.

  15. I Will Be Worthy of It

    by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

    I may not reach the heights I seek,
    My untried strength may fail me;
    Or, half-way up the mountain peak,
    Fierce tempests may assail me.
    But though that place I never gain,
    Herein lies comfort for my pain—
    I will be worthy of it.

    I may not triumph in success,
    Despite my earnest labor;
    I may not grasp results that bless
    The efforts of my neighbor;
    But though my goal I never see
    This thought shall always dwell with me—
    I will be worthy of it.

    The golden glory of Love's light
    May never fall on my way;
    My path may always lead through night,
    Like some deserted by-way;
    But though life's dearest joy I miss
    There lies a nameless strength in this—
    I will be worthy of it.

  16. Life

    by Edgar A. Guest

    Life is a jest;
    Take the delight of it.
    Laughter is best;
    Sing through the night of it.
    Swiftly the tear
    And the hurt and the ache of it
    Find us down here;
    Life must be what we make of it.

    Life is a song;
    Let us dance to the thrill of it.
    Grief's hours are long,
    And cold is the chill of it.
    Joy is man's need;
    Let us smile for the sake of it.
    This be our creed:
    Life must be what we make of it.

    Life is a soul;
    The virtue and vice of it.
    Strife for a goal,
    And man's strength is the price of it.
    Your life and mine,
    The bare bread and the cake of it,
    End in this line:
    Life must be what we make of it.

  17. Cheerfulness

    by Edwin Oscar Gale

    As placid lake reflects the sun,
    Which ruffled cannot do,
    Your cheerful face to every one
    Returns like smiles to you.
    The loved, who look to us when night
    Gives respite to our cares,
    Grow stronger when our faces, bright
    Reflect the smiles of theirs.

    Clouds do not melt the winter's snow,
    Nor lift the ice from streams,
    The crystal diamonds fail to flow
    Till warmed by solar beams.
    The nightshade thrives in gloomy meads,
    But roses in the sun,
    And hearts soon grow but noxious weeds
    If smiles their portals shun.
    We turn unto a happy face
    As magnet to its star;
    The frowns that may awhile deface
    By smiles soon scattered are.
    We to ourselves and others owe
    Kind words and gentleness,
    Whatever kindness we bestow,
    Returns ourselves to bless.

  18. 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.

  19. Foreboding

    by Ellen P. Allerton

    I will not look for storms when skies are glowing,
    With hues of summer sunsets painted o'er;
    When all my tides of life are softly flowing,
    I will not listen for the breaker's roar.

    I will not search the future for its sorrows,
    Nor peer ahead for lions in the way,
    I will not weep o'er possible to-morrows—
    Sufficient is the evil of to-day.

  20. Good Company

    by Anonymous

    “I’ll Try!” is a soldier;
    “I will” is a king;
    Be sure they are near
    When the school-bells ring.

    When school-days are over,
    And boys are men,
    “I’ll Try!” and “I Will!”
    Are good things then.

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