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Sympathy Poems

Table of Contents

  1. If I can stop one heart from breaking by Emily Dickinson
  2. The Other Side by Anonymous
  3. If We Understood by Anonymous
  4. If We But Knew by Freeman E. Miller
  5. Charity by Hezekiah Jordan Leavitt
  6. Two Pictures by John Charles McNeill
  7. Sympathy by Emily Brontë
  8. Sympathy by Georgia Douglas Johnson
  9. The Willow by Georgia Douglas Johnson
  10. Brotherhood by Georgia Douglas Johnson
  11. Sympathy by Douglas Malloch

  1. If I can stop one heart from breaking

    by Emily Dickinson

    If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain;
    If I can ease one life the aching,
    Or cool one pain,
    Or help one fainting robin
    Unto his nest again,
    I shall not live in vain.

  2. The Other Side

    by Anonymous

    Your side is gold, the other side is brass?
    Perhaps but stay your pride,
    Gold may be tarnished, brass be radiant;
    Look on the other side.

    Your side is true, the other side is false?
    Perhaps; but time and tide
    Have often overturned the thoughts of men;
    Look on the other side.

  3. If We Understood

    We'd love each other better,
    If we only understood.

    - Anonymous
    If We Understood
    by Anonymous

    Could we but draw back the curtains
    That surround each other's lives,
    See the naked heart and spirit,
    Know what spur the action gives,
    Often we should find it better,
    Purer than we judged we should,
    We should love each other better,
    If we only understood.

    Could we judge all deeds by motives,
    See the good and bad within,
    Often we should love the sinner
    All the while we loathe the sin;
    Could we know the powers working
    To o'erthrow integrity,
    We should judge each other's errors
    With more patient charity.

    If we knew the cares and trials,
    Knew the effort all in vain,
    And the bitter disappointment,
    Understood the loss and gain—
    Would the grim, eternal roughness
    Seem—I wonder—just the same?
    Should we help where now we hinder,
    Should we pity where we blame?

    Ah! we judge each other harshly,
    Knowing not life's hidden force;
    Knowing not the fount of action
    Is less turbid at its source;
    Seeing not amid the evil
    All the golden grains of good;
    Oh! we'd love each other better,
    If we only understood.

  4. If We But Knew

    by Freeman E. Miller

    If we but knew the weary way,
    The poisoned paths of hostile hate,
    The roughened roads of fiercest fate,
    Through which our brother's journey lay,
    Would we condemn, as now we do,
    His faults and failures,—if we knew?

    Would we forget the shadows grim,
    The lonely hours of grief and pain,
    The follies dead, the pleasures slain,
    The tears and toils that hindered him,
    And only prize the deeds that grew
    To mighty conquest, if we knew?

    Would careless hand sow tares of strife,
    Amid the blooms of happy care,
    And plant, in spite of sigh and prayer,
    Wild thorns amid the blameless life,
    Till sorrows rule the nations through,
    With scarce a rival, if we knew?

    Would we be quicker with our praise,
    And gladly give the greatest meeds
    As recompense for noble deeds,
    And heroes crown with brightest bays,
    And slay all foes that hearts imbue
    With doubt and weakness, if we knew?

    From lofty kings would constant worth
    On peasant brows their crowns bestow,
    And rising from her overthrow
    Eternal justice rule the earth,
    While right would strip the favored few
    To bless the many, if we knew?

    If we but knew! Ah, well-a-day!
    From lives that murmur, full of ills,
    Behind the shadows of the hills,
    God hides our brother's heart away;
    And we shall know in vales of rest
    That His eternal ways are best!

  5. 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!

  6. Two Pictures

    by John Charles McNeill

    One sits in soft light, where the hearth is warm,
    A halo, like an angel's, on her hair.
    She clasps a sleeping infant in her arm.
    A holy presence hovers round her there,
    And she, for all her mother-pains more fair,
    Is happy, seeing that all sweet thoughts that stir
    The hearts of men bear worship unto her.

    Another wanders where the cold wind blows,
    Wet-haired, with eyes that sting one like a knife.
    Homeless forever, at her bosom close
    She holds the purchase of her love and life,
    Of motherhood, unglorified as wife;
    And bitterer than the world's relentless scorn
    The knowing her child were happier never born.

    Whence are the halo and the fiery shame
    That fashion thus a crown and curse of love?
    Have roted words such power to bless and blame?
    Ay, men have stained a raven from many a dove,
    And all the grace and all the grief hereof
    Are the two words which bore one's lips apart
    And which the other hoarded in her heart.

    He who stooped down and wrote upon the sand,
    The God-heart in him touched to tenderness,
    Saw deep, saw what we cannot understand,—
    We, who draw near the shrine of one to bless
    The while we scourge another's sore distress,
    And judge like gods between the ill and good,
    The glory and the guilt of womanhood.

  7. Sympathy

    by Emily Brontë

    There should be no despair for you
    While nightly stars are burning,
    While evening pours its silent dew,
    And sunshine gilds the morning.
    There should be no despair—though tears
    May flow down like a river:
    Are not the best beloved of years
    Around your heart for ever?

    They weep, you weep, it must be so;
    Winds sigh as you are sighing,
    And winter sheds its grief in snow
    Where Autumn's leaves are lying:
    Yet, these revive, and from their fate
    Your fate cannot be parted:
    Then, journey on, if not elate,
    Still never broken-hearted!

  8. Sympathy

    by Georgia Douglas Johnson

    My joy leaps with your ecstasy,
    In sympathy divine;
    The smiles that wreathe upon your lips,
    Find sentinels on mine:

    Your lightest sigh I'm echoing,
    I tremble with your pain,
    And all your tears are falling
    In my heart like bitter rain.

  9. The Willow

    by Georgia Douglas Johnson

    When life is young, without a care,
    Alone we walk, and free:
    The world, a splendid merry round
    Of rhythmic melody.

    Before the end, grim sorrow calls
    Into each mortal ear,
    When friendship fades to memories,
    And love lies in its bier.

    Then, then it is that sympathy
    Is holden close and dear;
    Ah, then life's consolation comes
    Commingled with a tear.

  10. Brotherhood

    by Georgia Douglas Johnson

    Come, brothers all!
    Shall we not wend
    The blind-way of our prison-world
    By sympathy entwined?
    Shall we not make
    The bleak way for each other's sake
    Less rugged and unkind?
    O let each throbbing heart repeat
    The faint note of another's beat
    To lift a chanson for the feet
    That stumble down life's checkered street.

  11. Sympathy

    by Douglas Malloch

    No man so poor but he may give
    To other men some cheer,
    No man too low or high may live
    To help some brother near.
    The forest that we tread is dark
    And hidden is the trail;
    Oh, keep alight the single spark
    That leads to Holy Grail.

    No gift so cheap to give, and yet
    No gift so dear to hold;
    The eyes that weep when eyes are wet
    Are mines of rarest gold.
    No gift so cheap as love is cheap,
    Yet none so rich may be
    As they who on their altars keep
    The lamp of sympathy.

    A forest dark, bewildering,
    This life we wander through;
    Praise God for those who work and sing,
    For both we have to do—
    Our greater mission not to win
    The thing we most desire,
    But more to keep, through care and sin,
    Our hearts with love afire.

    For there are others on the road,
    The dark and misty trail,
    And we who bear the lighter load
    Must help the ones who fail;
    And, helping on the weary soul
    Who stumbles by alone,
    Thus we, in striving for his goal,
    Shall come upon our own.

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