WHEN DAY IS DONE
EDGAR A. GUEST
To S.H.D. A real friend who never knows when day is done
Age of Ink, The All for the Best Always Saying "Don't!" Autumn Evenings Aw Gee Whiz!
Bedtime Better Job, The Bob White Book of Memory. The Boy and His Dad, A Boy and His Dog, A Boy and His Stomach, A Boy and the Flag, The Boy O'Mine Brothers All
Call of the Woods, The "Carry On" Castor Oil Chip on Your Shoulder, The Christmas Carol, A Christmas Gift for Mother, The Cleaning the Furnace Committee Meetings Contradictin' Joe Cookie Jar, The Couldn't Live Without You Cure for Weariness, The
Dan McGann Declares Himself Deeds of Anger, The
Family Row, A Father's Wish, A Feller's Hat, A Fellowship of Books, The Forgotten Boyhood
God Made This Day for Me Golf Luck Good Little Boy, The Grate Fire, The Green Apple Time
Happy Man, The He's Taken Out His Papers Home and the Office Homely Man, The How Do You Buy Your Money?
I Ain't Dead Yet I'd Rather Be a Failure If I Had Youth If This Were All
Joys of Home, The Joys We Miss, The Just a Boy
Kick Under the Table, The
Leader of the Gang Learn to Smile Life Is What We Make It Life's Single Standard Little Girls Are Best Little Wrangles Lonely Looking Back Loss Is Not So Great, The Lucky Man, The
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No Better Land Than This No Children! No Room for Hate Nothing to Laugh At No Use Sighin'
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Pa and the Monthly Bills Peaks of Valor, The Practicing Time Pretending Not to See
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Vanished Joy, A
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When Day Is Done
When day is done and the night slips down, And I've turned my back on the busy town, And come once more to the welcome gate Where the roses nod and the children wait, I tell myself as I see them smile That life is good and its tasks worth while.
When day is done and I've come once more To my quiet street and the friendly door, Where the Mother reigns and the children play And the kettle sings in the old-time way, I throw my coat on a near-by chair And say farewell to my pack of care.
When day is done, all the hurt and strife And the selfishness and the greed of life, Are left behind in the busy town; I've ceased to worry about renown Or gold or fame, and I'm just a dad, Content to be with his girl and lad.
Whatever the day has brought of care, Here love and laughter are mine to share, Here I can claim what the rich desire— Rest and peace by a ruddy fire, The welcome words which the loved ones speak And the soft caress of a baby's cheek.
When day is done and I reach my gate, I come to a realm where there is no hate, For here, whatever my worth may be, Are those who cling to their faith in me; And with love on guard at my humble door, I have all that the world has struggled for.
The Simple Things
I would not be too wise—so very wise That I must sneer at simple songs and creeds, And let the glare of wisdom blind my eyes To humble people and their humble needs.
I would not care to climb so high that I Could never hear the children at their play, Could only see the people passing by, And never hear the cheering words they say.
I would not know too much—too much to smile At trivial errors of the heart and hand, Nor be too proud to play the friend the while, Nor cease to help and know and understand.
I would not care to sit upon a throne, Or build my house upon a mountain-top, Where I must dwell in glory all alone And never friend come in or poor man stop.
God grant that I may live upon this earth And face the tasks which every morning brings And never lose the glory and the worth Of humble service and the simple things.
Life Is What We Make It
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; 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.
What We Need
We were settin' there an' smokin' of our pipes, discussin' things, Like licker, votes for wimmin, an' the totterin'thrones o' kings, When he ups an' strokes his whiskers with his hand an' says t'me: "Changin' laws an' legislatures ain't, as fur as I can see, Goin' to make this world much better, unless somehow we can Find a way to make a better an' a finer sort o' man.
"The trouble ain't with statutes or with systems—not at all; It's with humans jest like we air an' their petty ways an' small. We could stop our writin' law-books an' our regulatin' rules If a better sort of manhood was the product of our schools. For the things that we air needin' ain't no writin' from a pen Or bigger guns to shoot with, but a bigger typeof men.
"I reckon all these problems air jest ornery like the weeds. They grow in soil that oughta nourish only decent deeds, An' they waste our time an' fret us when, if we were thinkin' straight An' livin' right, they wouldn't be so terrible an' great. A good horse needs no snaffle, an' a good man, I opine, Doesn't need a law to check him or to force him into line.
"If we ever start in teachin' to our children, year by year, How to live with one another, there'll be less o' trouble here. If we'd teach 'em how to neighbor an' to walk in honor's ways, We could settle every problem which the mind o' man can raise. What we're needin' isn't systems or some regulatin' plan, But a bigger an' a finer an' a truer type o' man."
A Boy and His Dad
A boy and his dad on a fishing-trip— There is a glorious fellowship! Father and son and the open sky And the white clouds lazily drifting by, And the laughing stream as it runs along With the clicking reel like a martial song, And the father teaching the youngster gay How to land a fish in the sportsman's way.
I fancy I hear them talking there In an open boat, and the speech is fair; And the boy is learning the ways of men From the finest man in his youthful ken. Kings, to the youngster, cannot compare With the gentle father who's with him there. And the greatest mind of the human race Not for one minute could take his place.
Which is happier, man or boy? The soul of the father is steeped in joy, For he's finding out, to his heart's delight, That his son is fit for the future fight. He is learning the glorious depths of him, And the thoughts he thinks and his every whim, And he shall discover, when night comes on, How close he has grown to his little son.
A boy and his dad on a fishing-trip— Oh, I envy them, as I see them there Under the sky in the open air, For out of the old, old long-ago Come the summer days that I used to know, When I learned life's truths from my father's lips As I shared the joy of his fishing-trips— Builders of life's companionship!
If I Had Youth
If I had youth I'd bid the world to try me; I'd answer every challenge to my will. And though the silent mountains should defy me, I'd try to make them subject to my skill. I'd keep my dreams and follow where they led me; I'd glory in the hazards which abound. I'd eat the simple fare privations fed me, And gladly make my couch upon the ground.
If I had youth I'd ask no odds of distance, Nor wish to tread the known and level ways. I'd want to meet and master strong resistance, And in a worth-while struggle spend my days. I'd seek the task which calls for full endeavor; I'd feel the thrill of battle in my veins. I'd bear my burden gallantly, and never Desert the hills to walk on common plains.
If I had youth no thought of failure lurking Beyond to-morrow's dawn should fright my soul. Let failure strike—it still should find me working With faith that I should some day reach my goal. I'd dice with danger—aye!—and glory in it; I'd make high stakes the purpose of my throw. I'd risk for much, and should I fail to win it, I would not ever whimper at the blow.
If I had youth no chains of fear should bind me; I'd brave the heights which older men must shun. I'd leave the well-worn lanes of life behind me, And seek to do what men have never done. Rich prizes wait for those who do not waver; The world needs men to battle for the truth. It calls each hour for stronger hearts and braver. This is the age for those who still have youth!
I might have been rich if I'd wanted the gold instead of the friendships I've made. I might have had fame if I'd sought for renown in the hours when I purposely played. Now I'm standing to-day on the far edge of life, and I'm just looking backward to see What I've done with the years and the days that were mine, and all that has happened to me.
I haven't built much of a fortune to leave to those who shall carry my name, And nothing I've done shall entitle me now to a place on the tablets of fame. But I've loved the great sky and its spaces of blue; I've lived with the birds and the trees; I've turned from the splendor of silver and gold to share in such pleasures as these.
I've given my time to the children who came; together we've romped and we've played, And I wouldn't exchange the glad hours spent with them for the money that I might have made. I chose to be known and be loved by the few, and was deaf to the plaudits of men; And I'd make the same choice should the chance come to me to live my life over again.
I've lived with my friends and I've shared in their joys, known sorrow with all of its tears; I have harvested much from my acres of life, though some say I've squandered my years. For much that is fine has been mine to enjoy, and I think I have lived to my best, And I have no regret, as I'm nearing the end, for the gold that I might have possessed.
God Made This Day for Me
Jes' the sort o' weather and jes' the sort of sky Which seem to suit my fancy, with the white clouds driftin' by On a sea o' smooth blue water. Oh, I ain't an egotist, With an "I" in all my thinkin', but I'm willin' to insist That the Lord who made us humans an' the birds in every tree Knows my special sort o' weather an' he made this day fer me.
This is jes' my style o' weather—sunshine floodin' all the place, An' the breezes from the eastward blowin' gently on my face; An' the woods chock full o' singin' till you'd think birds never had A single care to fret 'em or a grief to make 'em sad. Oh, I settle down contented in the shadow of a tree, An' tell myself right proudly that the day was made fer me.
It's my day, my sky an' sunshine, an' the temper o' the breeze— Here's the weather I would fashion could I run things as I please: Beauty dancin' all around me, music ringin' everywhere, Like a weddin' celebration—why, I've plumb fergot my care An' the tasks I should be doin' fer the rainy days to be, While I'm huggin' the delusion that God made this day fer me.
The Grate Fire
I'm sorry for a fellow if he cannot look and see In a grate fire's friendly flaming all the joys which used to be. If in quiet contemplation of a cheerful ruddy blaze He sees nothing there recalling all his happy yesterdays, Then his mind is dead to fancy and his life is bleak and bare, And he's doomed to walk the highways that are always thick with care.
When the logs are dry as tinder and they crackle with the heat, And the sparks, like merry children, come a-dancing round my feet, In the cold, long nights of autumn I can sit before the blaze And watch a panorama born of all my yesterdays. I can leave the present burdens and the moment's bit of woe, And claim once more the gladness of the bygone long-ago.
No loved ones ever vanish from the grate fire's merry throng; No hands in death are folded and no lips are stilled to song. All the friends who were are living—like the sparks that fly about They come romping out to greet me with the same old merry shout, Till it seems to me I'm playing once again on boyhood's stage, Where there's no such thing as sorrow and there's no such thing as age.
I can be the care-free schoolboy! I can play the lover, too! I can walk through Maytime orchards with the old sweetheart I knew, I can dream the glad dreams over, greet the old familiar friends In a land where there's no parting and the laughter never ends. All the gladness life has given from a grate fire I reclaim, And I'm sorry for the fellow-who sees nothing there but flame.
The Homely Man
Looks as though a cyclone hit him— Can't buy clothes that seem to fit him; An' his cheeks are rough like leather, Made for standin' any weather. Outwards he was fashioned plainly, Loose o' joint an' blamed ungainly, But I'd give a lot if I'd Been built half as fine inside.
Best thing I can tell you of him Is the way the children love him. Now an' then I get to thinkin' He's much like old Abe Lincoln; Homely like a gargoyle graven— Worse'n that when he's unshaven; But I'd take his ugly phiz Jes' to have a heart like his.
I ain't over-sentimental, But old Blake is so blamed gentle An' so thoughtfull-like of others He reminds us of our mothers. Rough roads he is always smoothing An' his way is, Oh, so soothin', That he takes away the sting When your heart is sorrowing.
Children gather round about him Like they can't get on without him. An' the old depend upon him, Pilin' all their burdens on him, Like as though the thing that grieves 'em Has been lifted when he leaves 'em. Homely? That can't be denied, But he's glorious inside.
The Joys We Miss
There never comes a lonely day but that we miss the laughing ways Of those who used to walk with us through all our happy yesterdays. We seldom miss the earthly great—the famous men that life has known— But, as the years go racing by, we miss the friends we used to own.
The chair wherein he used to sit recalls the kindly father true For, Oh, so filled with fun he was, and, Oh, so very much he knew! And as we face the problems grave with which the years of life are filled. We miss the hand which guided us and miss the voice forever stilled.
We little guessed how much he did to smooth our pathway day by day, How much of joy he brought to us, how much of care he brushed away; But now that we must tread alone the thorough-fare of life, we find How many burdens we were spared by him who was so brave and kind.
Death robs the living, not the dead—they sweetly sleep whose tasks are done; But we are weaker than before who still must live and labor on. For when come care and grief to us, and heavy burdens bring us woe, We miss the smiling, helpful friends on whom we leaned long years ago.
We miss the happy, tender ways of those who brought us mirth and cheer; We never gather round the hearth but that we wish our friends were near; For peace is born of simple things—a kindly word, a goodnight kiss, The prattle of a babe, and love—these are the vanished joys we miss.
The Fellowship of Books
I care not who the man may be, Nor how his tasks may fret him, Nor where he fares, nor how his cares And troubles may beset him, If books have won the love of him, Whatever fortune hands him, He'll always own, when he's alone, A friend who understands him.
Though other friends may come and go, And some may stoop to treason, His books remain, through loss or gain, And season after season The faithful friends for every mood, His joy and sorrow sharing, For old time's sake, they'll lighter make The burdens he is bearing.
Oh, he has counsel at his side, And wisdom for his duty, And laughter gay for hours of play, And tenderness and beauty, And fellowship divinely rare, True friends who never doubt him, Unchanging love, and God above, Who keeps good books about him.
When Sorrow Comes
When sorrow comes, as come it must, In God a man must place his trust. There is no power in mortal speech The anguish of his soul to reach, No voice, however sweet and low, Can comfort him or ease the blow.
He cannot from his fellowmen Take strength that will sustain him then. With all that kindly hands will do, And all that love may offer, too, He must believe throughout the test That God has willed it for the best.
We who would be his friends are dumb; Words from our lips but feebly come; We feel, as we extend our hands, That one Power only understands And truly knows the reason why So beautiful a soul must die.
We realize how helpless then Are all the gifts of mortal men. No words which we have power to say Can take the sting of grief away— That Power which marks the sparrow's fall Must comfort and sustain us all.
When sorrow comes, as come it must, In God a man must place his trust. With all the wealth which he may own, He cannot meet the test alone, And only he may stand serene Who has a faith on which to lean.
As a golfer I'm not one who cops the money; I shall always be a member of the dubs; There are times my style is positively funny; I am awkward in my handling of the clubs. I am not a skillful golfer, nor a plucky, But this about myself I proudly say— When I win a hole by freaky stroke or lucky, I never claim I played the shot that way.
There are times, despite my blundering behavior, When fortune seems to follow at my heels; Now and then I play supremely in her favor, And she lets me pull the rankest sort of steals; She'll give to me the friendliest assistance, I'll jump a ditch at times when I should not, I'll top the ball and get a lot of distance— But I don't claim that's how I played the shot.
I've hooked a ball when just that hook I needed, And wondered how I ever turned the trick; I've thanked my luck for what a friendly tree did, Although my fortune made my rival sick; Sometimes my shots turn out just as I planned 'em, The sort of shots I usually play, But when up to the cup I chance to land 'em, I never claim I played 'em just that way.
There's little in my game that will commend me; I'm not a shark who shoots the course in par; I need good fortune often to befriend me; I have my faults and know just what they are. I play golf in a desperate do-or-die way, And into traps and trouble oft I stray, But when by chance the breaks are coming my way, I do not claim I played the shots that way.
Heard of Contradictin' Joe? Most contrary man I know. Always sayin', "That's not so."
Nothing's ever said, but he Steps right up to disagree— Quarrelsome as he can be.
If you start in to recite All the details of a fight, He'll butt in to set you right.
Start a story that is true, He'll begin correctin' you— Make you out a liar, too!
Mention time o' year or day, Makes no difference what you say, Nothing happened just that way.
Bet you, when his soul takes flight, An' the angels talk at night, He'll butt in to set 'em right.
There where none should have complaints He will be with "no's" and "ain'ts" Contradictin' all the saints.
The Better Job
If I were running a factory I'd stick up a sign for all to see; I'd print it large and I'd nail it high On every wall that the men walked by; And I'd have it carry this sentence clear: "The 'better job' that you want is here!"
It's the common trait of the human race To pack up and roam from place to place; Men have done it for ages and do it now; Seeking to better themselves somehow They quit their posts and their tools they drop For a better job in another shop.
It may be I'm wrong, but I hold to this— That something surely must be amiss When a man worth while must move away For the better job with the better pay; And something is false in our own renown When men can think of a better town.
So if I were running a factory I'd stick up this sign for all to see, Which never an eye in the place could miss: "There isn't a better town than this! You need not go wandering, far or near— The 'better job' that you want is here!"
My religion's lovin' God, who made us, one and all, Who marks, no matter where it be, the humble sparrow's fall; An' my religion's servin' Him the very best I can By not despisin' anything He made, especially man! It's lovin' sky an' earth an' sun an' birds an' flowers an' trees, But lovin' human beings more than any one of these.
I ain't no hand at preachin' an' I can't expound the creeds; I fancy every fellow's faith must satisfy his needs Or he would hunt for something else. An' I can't tell the why An' wherefore of the doctrines deep—and what's more I don't try. I reckon when this life is done and we can know His plan, God won't be hard on anyone who's tried to be a man.
My religion doesn't hinge on some one rite or word; I hold that any honest prayer a mortal makes is heard; To love a church is well enough, but some get cold with pride An' quite forget their fellowmen for whom the Saviour died; I fancy he best worships God, when all is said an' done, Who tries to be, from day to day, a friend to everyone.
If God can mark the sparrow's fall, I don't believe He'll fail To notice us an' how we act when doubts an' fears assail; I think He'll hold what's in our hearts above what's in our creeds, An' judge all our religion here by our recorded deeds; An' since man is God's greatest work since life on earth began, He'll get to Heaven, I believe, who helps his fellowman.
What I Call Living
The miser thinks he's living when he's hoarding up his gold; The soldier calls it living when he's doing something bold; The sailor thinks it living to be tossed upon the sea, And upon this vital subject no two of us agree. But I hold to the opinion, as I walk my way along, That living's made of laughter and good-fellowship and song.
I wouldn't call it living always to be seeking gold, To bank all the present gladness for the days when I'll be old. I wouldn't call it living to spend all my strength for fame, And forego the many pleasures which to-day are mine to claim. I wouldn't for the splendor of the world set out to roam, And forsake my laughing children and the peace I know at home. Oh, the thing that I call living isn't gold or fame at all!
It's good-fellowship and sunshine, and it's roses by the wall; It's evenings glad with music and a hearth fire that's ablaze, And the joys which come to mortals in a thousand different ways. It is laughter and contentment and the struggle for a goal; It is everything that's needful in the shaping of a soul.
If This Were All
If this were all of life we'll know, If this brief space of breath Were all there is to human toil, If death were really death, And never should the soul arise A finer world to see, How foolish would our struggles seem, How grim the earth would be!
If living were the whole of life, To end in seventy years, How pitiful its joys would seem! How idle all its tears! There'd be no faith to keep us true, No hope to keep us strong, And only fools would cherish dreams— No smile would last for long.
How purposeless the strife would be If there were nothing more, If there were not a plan to serve, An end to struggle for! No reason for a mortal's birth Except to have him die— How silly all the goals would seem For which men bravely try.
There must be something after death; Behind the toil of man There must exist a God divine Who's working out a plan; And this brief journey that we know As life must really be The gateway to a finer world That some day we shall see.
A Christmas Carol
God bless you all this Christmas Day And drive the cares and griefs away. Oh, may the shining Bethlehem star Which led the wise men from afar Upon your heads, good sirs, still glow To light the path that ye should go.
As God once blessed the stable grim And made it radiant for Him; As it was fit to shield His Son, May thy roof be a holy one; May all who come this house to share Rest sweetly in His gracious care.
Within thy walls may peace abide, The peace for which the Savior died. Though humble be the rafters here, Above them may the stars shine clear, And in this home thou lovest well May excellence of spirit dwell.
God bless you all this Christmas Day; May Bethlehem's star still light thy way And guide thee to the perfect peace When every fear and doubt shall cease. And may thy home such glory know As did the stable long ago.
He wears a long and solemn face And drives the children from his place; He doesn't like to hear them shout Or race and run and romp about, And if they chance to climb his tree, He is as ugly as can be. If in his yard they drive a ball, Which near his pretty flowers should fall, He hides the leather sphere away, Thus hoping to prevent their play.
The youngsters worry him a lot, This sorry man who has forgot That once upon a time, he too The self-same mischief used to do. The boyhood he has left behind Has strangely vanished from his mind, And he is old and gray and cross For having suffered such a loss. He thinks he never had the joy That is the birthright of a boy.
He has forgotten how he ran, Or to a dog's tail tied a can, Broke window panes, and loved to swipe Some neighbor's apples, red and ripe— He thinks that always, day or night, His conduct was exactly right. In boys to-day he cannot see The youngster that he used to be, Forgotten is that by-gone day, When he was mischievous as they.
Poor man! I'm sorry for your lot. The best of life you have forgot. Could you remember what you were, Unharnessed and untouched by spur, These youngsters that you drive away Would be your comrades here to-day. Among them you could gayly walk And share their laughter and their talk; You could be young and blithe as they, Could you recall your yesterday.
The Peaks of Valor
These are the peaks of valor; keeping clean your father's name, Too brave for petty profit to risk the brand of shame, Adventuring for the future, yet mindful of the past, For God, for country and for home, still valorous to the last.
These are the peaks of valor: a speech that knows no lie, A standard of what's right and wrong which no man's wealth can buy, All unafraid of failure, to venture forth to fight, Yet never for the victory's sake to turn away from right.
Ten thousand times the victor is he who fails to win, Who could have worn the conqueror's crown by stooping low in sin; Ten thousand times the braver is he who turns away And scorns to crush a weaker man that he may rule the day.
These are the peaks of valor: standing firm and standing true To the best your father taught you and the best you've learned anew, Helpful to all who need you, winning what joys you can, Writing in triumph to the end your record as a man.
When the Minister Calls
My Paw says that it used to be, Whenever the minister came for tea, 'At they sat up straight in their chairs at night An' put all their common things out o' sight, An' nobody cracked a joke or grinned, But they talked o' the way that people sinned, An' the burnin' fires that would cook you sure When you came to die, if you wasn't pure— Such a gloomy affair it used to be Whenever the minister came for tea.
But now when the minister comes to call I get him out for a game of ball, And you'd never know if you'd see him bat, Without any coat or vest or hat, That he is a minister, no, siree! He looks like a regular man to me. An' he knows just how to go down to the dirt For the grounders hot without gettin' hurt— An' when they call us, both him an' me Have to git washed up again for tea.
Our minister says if you'll just play fair You'll be fit for heaven or anywhere; An' fun's all right if your hands are clean An' you never cheat an' you don't get mean. He says that he never has understood Why a feller can't play an' still be good. An' my Paw says that he's just the kind Of a minister that he likes to find— So I'm always tickled as I can be Whenever our minister comes for tea.
The Age of Ink
Swiftly the changes come. Each day Sees some lost beauty blown away And some new touch of lovely grace Come into life to take its place. The little babe that once we had One morning woke a roguish lad; The babe that we had put to bed Out of our arms and lives had fled.
Frocks vanished from our castle then, Ne'er to be worn or seen again, And in his knickerbocker pride He boasted pockets at each side And stored them deep with various things— Stones, tops and jacks and-colored strings; Then for a time we claimed the joy Of calling him our little boy.
Brief was the reign of such a spell. One morning sounded out a bell; With tears I saw her brown eyes swim And knew that it was calling him. Time, the harsh master of us all, Was bidding him to heed his call; This shadow fell across life's pool— Our boy was on his way to school.
Our little boy! And still we dreamed, For such a little boy he seemed! And yesterday, with eyes aglow Like one who has just come to know Some great and unexpected bliss, He bounded in, announcing this: "Oh, Dad! Oh, Ma! Say, what d'you think? This year we're going to write with ink!"
Here was a change I'd not foreseen, Another step from what had been. I paused a little while to think About this older age of ink— What follows this great step, thought I, What next shall come as the time goes by? And something said: "His pathway leads Unto the day he'll write with deeds."
No Use Sighin'
No use frettin' when the rain comes down, No use grievin' when the gray clouds frown, No use sighin' when the wind blows strong, No use wailin' when the world's all wrong; Only thing that a man can do Is work an' wait till the sky gets blue.
No use mopin' when you lose the game, No use sobbin' if you're free from shame, No use cryin' when the harm is done, Just keep on tryin' an' workin' on; Only thing for a man to do, Is take the loss an' begin anew.
No use weepin' when the milk is spilled, No use growlin' when your hopes are killed, No use kickin' when the lightnin' strikes Or the floods come along an' wreck your dykes; Only thing for a man right then Is to grit his teeth an' start again.
For it's how life is an' the way things are That you've got to face if you travel far; An' the storms will come an' the failures, too, An' plans go wrong spite of all you do; An' the only thing that will help you win, Is the grit of a man and a stern set chin.
No children in the house to play— It must be hard to live that way! I wonder what the people do When night comes on and the work is through, With no glad little folks to shout, No eager feet to race about, No youthful tongues to chatter on About the joy that's been and gone? The house might be a castle fine, But what a lonely place to dine!
No children in the house at all, No fingermarks upon the wall, No corner where the toys are piled— Sure indication of a child. No little lips to breathe the prayer That God shall keep you in His care, No glad caress and welcome sweet When night returns you to your street; No little lips a kiss to give— Oh, what a lonely way to live!
No children in the house! I fear We could not stand it half a year. What would we talk about at night, Plan for and work with all our might, Hold common dreams about and find True union of heart and mind, If we two had no greater care Than what we both should eat and wear? We never knew love's brightest flame Until the day the baby came.
And now we could not get along Without their laughter and their song. Joy is not bottled on a shelf, It cannot feed upon itself, And even love, if it shall wear, Must find its happiness in care; Dull we'd become of mind and speech Had we no little ones to teach. No children in the house to play! Oh, we could never live that way!
The Loss Is Not So Great
It is better as it is: I have failed but I can sleep; Though the pit I now am in is very dark and deep I can walk to-morrow's streets and can meet to-morrow's men Unashamed to face their gaze as I go to work again.
I have lost the hope I had; in the dust are all my dreams, But my loss is not so great or so dreadful as it seems; I made my fight and though I failed I need not slink away For I do not have to fear what another man may say.
They may call me over-bold, they may say that I was frail; They may tell I dared too much and was doomed at last to fail; They may talk my battle o'er and discuss it as they choose, But I did no brother wrong—I'm the only one to lose.
It is better as it is: I have kept my self-respect. I can walk to-morrow's streets meeting all men head erect. No man can charge his loss to a pledge I did not keep; I have no shame to regret: I have failed, but I can sleep.
Dan McGann Declares Himself
Said Dan McGann to a foreign man who worked at the selfsame bench, "Let me tell you this," and for emphasis he flourished a Stilson wrench; "Don't talk to me of the bourjoissee, don't open your mouth to speak Of your socialists or your anarchists, don't mention the bolsheveek, For I've had enough of this foreign stuff, I'm sick as a man can be Of the speech of hate, and I'm tellin' you straight that this is the land for me!
"If you want to brag, just take that flag an' boast of its field o' blue, An' praise the dead an' the blood they shed for the peace o' the likes o' you. Enough you've raved," and once more he waved his wrench in a forceful way, "O' the cunning creed o' some Russian breed; I stand for the U.S.A.! I'm done with your fads, and your wild-eyed lads. Don't flourish your rag o' red Where I can see or by night there'll be tall candles around your bed.
"So tip your hat to a flag like that! Thank God for its stripes an' stars! Thank God you're here where the roads are clear, away from your kings and czars. I can't just say what I feel to-day, for I'm not a talkin' man, But, first an' last, I am standin' fast for all that's American. So don't you speak of the bolsheveek, it's sick of that stuff I am! One God, one flag is the creed I brag! I'm boostin' for Uncle Sam."
A Boy and His Stomach
What's the matter with you—ain't I always been your friend? Ain't I been a pardner to you? All my pennies don't I spend In gettin' nice things for you? Don't I give you lots of cake? Say, stummick, what's the matter, that you had to go an' ache?
Why, I loaded you with good things yesterday, I gave you more Potatoes, squash an' turkey than you'd ever had before. I gave you nuts an' candy, pumpkin pie an' chocolate cake, An' las' night when I got to bed you had to go an' ache.
Say, what's the matter with you—ain't you satisfied at all? I gave you all you wanted, you was hard jes' like a ball, An' you couldn't hold another bit of puddin', yet las' night You ached mos' awful, stummick; that ain't treatin' me jes' right.
I've been a friend to you, I have, why ain't you a friend o' mine? They gave me castor oil last night because you made me whine. I'm awful sick this mornin' an' I'm feelin' mighty blue, 'Cause you don't appreciate the things I do for you.
Home and the Office
Home is the place where the laughter should ring, And man should be found at his best. Let the cares of the day be as great as they may, The night has been fashioned for rest. So leave at the door when the toiling is o'er All the burdens of worktime behind, And just be a dad to your girl or your lad— A dad of the rollicking kind.
The office is made for the tasks you must face; It is built for the work you must do; You may sit there and sigh as your cares pile up high, And no one may criticize you; You may worry and fret as you think of your debt, You may grumble when plans go astray, But when it comes night, and you shut your desk tight, Don't carry the burdens away.
Keep daytime for toil and the nighttime for play, Work as hard as you choose in the town, But when the day ends, and the darkness descends, Just forget that you're wearing a frown— Go home with a smile! Oh, you'll find it worth while; Go home light of heart and of mind; Go home and be glad that you're loved as a dad, A dad of the fun-loving kind.
He's Taken Out His Papers
He's taken out his papers, an' he's just like you an' me. He's sworn to love the Stars and Stripes an' die for it, says he. An' he's done with dukes an' princes, an' he's done with kings an' queens, An' he's pledged himself to freedom, for he knows what freedom means.
He's bought himself a bit of ground, an', Lord, he's proud an' glad! For in the land he came from that is what he never had. Now his kids can beat his writin', an' they're readin' books, says he, That the children in his country never get a chance to see.
He's taken out his papers, an' he's prouder than a king: "It means a lot to me," says he, "just like the breath o' spring, For a new life lies before us; we've got hope an' faith an' cheer; We can face the future bravely, an' our kids don't need to fear."
He's taken out his papers, an' his step is light to-day, For a load is off his shoulders an' he treads an easier way; An' he'll tell you, if you ask him, so that you can understand, Just what freedom means to people who have known some other land.
I don't mind lickin's, now an' then, An' I can even stand it when My mother calls me in from play To run some errand right away. There's things 'bout bein' just a boy That ain't all happiness an' joy, But I suppose I've got to stand My share o' trouble in this land, An' I ain't kickin' much—but, say, The worst of parents is that they Don't realize just how they spoil A feller's life with castor oil.
Of all the awful stuff, Gee Whiz! That is the very worst there is. An' every time if I complain, Or say I've got a little pain, There's nothing else that they can think 'Cept castor oil for me to drink. I notice, though, when Pa is ill, That he gets fixed up with a pill, An' Pa don't handle Mother rough An' make her swallow nasty stuff; But when I've got a little ache, It's castor oil I've got to take.
I don't mind goin' up to bed Afore I get the chapter read; I don't mind being scolded, too, For lots of things I didn't do; But, Gee! I hate it when they say, "Come! Swallow this—an' right away!" Let poets sing about the joy It is to be a little boy, I'll tell the truth about my case: The poets here can have my place, An' I will take their life of-toil If they will take my castor oil.
A Father's Wish
What do I want my boy to be? Oft is the question asked of me, And oft I ask it of myself— What corner, niche or post or shelf In the great hall of life would I Select for him to occupy? Statesman or writer, poet, sage Or toiler for a weekly wage, Artist or artisan? Oh, what Is to become his future lot? For him I do not dare to plan; I only hope he'll be a man.
I leave it free for him to choose The tools of life which he shall use, Brush, pen or chisel, lathe or wrench, The desk of commerce or the bench, And pray that when he makes his choice In each day's task he shall rejoice. I know somewhere there is a need For him to labor and succeed; Somewhere, if he be clean and true, Loyal and honest through and through, He shall be fit for any clan, And so I hope he'll be a man.
I would not build my hope or ask That he shall do some certain task, Or bend his will to suit my own; He shall select his post alone. Life needs a thousand kinds of men, Toilers and masters of the pen, Doctors, mechanics, sturdy hands To do the work which it commands, And wheresoe'er he's pleased to go, Honor and triumph he may know. Therefore I must do all I can To teach my boy to be a man.
No Better Land Than This
If I knew a better country in this glorious world today Where a man's work hours are shorter and he's drawing bigger pay, If the Briton or the Frenchman had an easier life than mine, I'd pack my goods this minute and I'd sail across the brine. But I notice when an alien wants a land of hope and cheer, And a future for his children, he comes out and settles here.
Here's the glorious land of Freedom! Here's the milk and honey goal For the peasant out of Russia, for the long-subjected Pole. It is here the sons of Italy and men of Austria turn For the comfort of their bodies and the wages they can earn. And with all that men complain of, and with all that goes amiss, There's no happier, better nation on the world's broad face than this.
So I'm thinking when I listen to the wails of discontent, And some foreign disbeliever spreads his evil sentiment, That the breed of hate and envy that is sowing sin and shame In this glorious land of Freedom should go back from whence it came. And I hold it is the duty, rich or poor, of every man Who enjoys this country's bounty to be all American.
A Boy and His Dog
A boy and his dog make a glorious pair: No better friendship is found anywhere, For they talk and they walk and they run and they play, And they have their deep secrets for many a day; And that boy has a comrade who thinks and who feels, Who walks down the road with a dog at his heels.
He may go where he will and his dog will be there, May revel in mud and his dog will not care; Faithful he'll stay for the slightest command And bark with delight at the touch of his hand; Oh, he owns a treasure which nobody steals, Who walks down the road with a dog at his heels.
No other can lure him away from his side; He's proof against riches and station and pride; Fine dress does not charm him, and flattery's breath Is lost on the dog, for he's faithful to death; He sees the great soul which the body conceals— Oh, it's great to be young with a dog at your heels!
"Wait Till Your Pa Comes Home"
"Wait till your Pa comes home!" Oh, dear! What a dreadful threat for a boy to hear. Yet never a boy of three or four But has heard it a thousand times or more. "Wait till your Pa comes home, my lad, And see what you'll get for being bad,
"Wait till your Pa comes home, you scamp! You've soiled the walls with your fingers damp, You've tracked the floor with your muddy feet And fought with the boy across the street; You've torn your clothes and you look a sight! But wait till your Pa comes home to-night."
Now since I'm the Pa of that daily threat Which paints me as black as a thing of jet I rise in protest right here to say I won't be used in so fierce a way; No child of mine in the evening gloam Shall be afraid of my coming home.
I want him waiting for me at night With eyes that glisten with real delight; When it's right that punished my boy should be I don't want the job postponed for me; I want to come home to a round of joy And not to frighten a little boy.
"Wait till your Pa comes home!" Oh, dear, What a dreadful threat for a boy to hear. Yet that is ever his Mother's way Of saving herself from a bitter day; And well she knows in the evening gloam He won't be hurt when his Pa comes home.
Nothing to Laugh At
'Taint nothin' to laugh at as I can see! If you'd been stung by a bumble bee, An' your nose wuz swelled an' it smarted, too, You wouldn't want people to laugh at you. If you had a lump that wuz full of fire, Like you'd been touched by a red hot wire, An' your nose spread out like a load of hay, You wouldn't want strangers who come your way To ask you to let 'em see the place An' laugh at you right before your face.
What's funny about it, I'd like to know? It isn't a joke to be hurted so! An' how wuz I ever on earth to tell 'At the pretty flower which I stooped to smell In our backyard wuz the very one Which a bee wuz busily working on? An' jus' as I got my nose down there, He lifted his foot an' kicked for fair, An' he planted his stinger right into me, But it's nothin' to laugh at as I can see.
I let out a yell an' my Maw came out To see what the trouble wuz all about. She says from my shriek she wuz sure 'at I Had been struck by a motor car passin' by; But when she found what the matter wuz She laughed just like ever'body does An' she made me stand while she poked about To pull his turrible stinger out. An' my Pa laughed, too, when he looked at me, But it's nothin' to laugh at, as I can see.
My Maw put witch hazel on the spot To take down the swellin' but it has not. It seems to git bigger as time goes by An' I can't see good out o' this one eye; An' it hurts clean down to my very toes Whenever I've got to blow my nose. An' all I can say is when this gits well There ain't any flowers I'll stoop to smell. I'm through disturbin' a bumble bee, But it's nothin' to laugh at, as I can see.
No Room for Hate
We have room for the man with an honest dream, With his heart on fire and his eyes agleam; We have room for the man with a purpose true, Who comes to our shores to start life anew, But we haven't an inch of space for him Who comes to plot against life and limb.
We have room for the man who will learn our ways, Who will stand by our Flag in its troubled days; We have room for the man who will till the soil, Who will give his hands to a fair day's toil, But we haven't an inch of space to spare For the breeder of hatred and black despair.
We have room for the man who will neighbor here, Who will keep his hands and his conscience clear; We have room for the man who'll respect our laws And pledge himself to our country's cause, But we haven't an inch of land to give To the alien breed that will alien live.
Against the vicious we bar the gate! This is no breeding ground for hate. This is the land of the brave and free And such we pray it shall always be. We have room for men who will love our flag, But none for the friends of the scarlet rag.
The Boy and the Flag
I want my boy to love his home, His Mother, yes, and me: I want him, wheresoe'er he'll roam, With us in thought to be. I want him to love what is fine, Nor let his standards drag, But, Oh! I want that boy of mine To love his country's flag!
I want him when he older grows To love all things of earth; And Oh! I want him, when he knows, To choose the things of worth. I want him to the heights to climb Nor let ambition lag; But, Oh! I want him all the time To love his country's flag.
I want my boy to know the best, I want him to be great; I want him in Life's distant West, Prepared for any fate. I want him to be simple, too, Though clever, ne'er to brag, But, Oh! I want him, through and through, To love his country's flag.
I want my boy to be a man, And yet, in distant years, I pray that he'll have eyes that can Not quite keep back the tears When, coming from some foreign shore And alien scenes that fag, Borne on its native breeze, once more He sees his country's flag.
Too Big a Price
"They say my boy is bad," she said to me, A tired old woman, thin and very frail. "They caught him robbing railroad cars, an' he Must spend from five to seven years in jail. His Pa an' I had hoped so much for him. He was so pretty as a little boy—" Her eyes with tears grew very wet an' dim— "Now nothing that we've got can give us joy!"
"What is it that you own?" I questioned then. "The house we live in," slowly she replied, "Two other houses worked an' slaved for, when The boy was but a youngster at my side, Some bonds we took the time he went to war; I've spent my strength against the want of age— We've always had some end to struggle for. Now shame an' ruin smear the final page.
"His Pa has been a steady-goin' man, Worked day an' night an' overtime as well; He's lived an' dreamed an' sweated to his plan To own the house an' profit should we sell; He never drank nor played much cards at night, He's been a worker since our wedding day, He's lived his life to what he knows is right, An' why should son of his now go astray?
"I've rubbed my years away on scrubbing boards, Washed floors for women that owned less than we, An' while they played the ladies an' the lords, We smiled an' dreamed of happiness to be." "And all this time where was the boy?" said I. "Out somewhere playin'!"—Like a rifle shot The thought went home—"My God!" she gave a cry, "We paid too big a price for what we got."
Always Saying "Don't!"
Folks are queer as they can be, Always sayin' "don't" to me; Don't do this an' don't do that. Don't annoy or tease the cat, Don't throw stones, or climb a tree, Don't play in the road. Oh, Gee! Seems like when I want to play "Don't" is all that they can say.
If I start to have some fun, Someone hollers, "Don't you run!" If I want to go an' play Mother says: "Don't go away." Seems my life is filled clear through With the things I mustn't do. All the time I'm shouted at: "No, no, Sonny, don't do that!"
Don't shout so an' make a noise, Don't play with those naughty boys, Don't eat candy, don't eat pie, Don't you laugh and don't you cry, Don't stand up and don't you fall, Don't do anything at all. Seems to me both night an' day "Don't" is all that they can say.
When I'm older in my ways An' have little boys to raise, Bet I'll let 'em race an' run An' not always spoil their fun; I'll not tell 'em all along Everything they like is wrong, An' you bet your life I won't All the time be sayin' "don't."
Boy O' Mine
Boy o' mine, boy o' mine, this is my prayer for you, This is my dream and my thought and my care for you: Strong be the spirit which dwells in the breast of you, Never may folly or shame get the best of you; You shall be tempted in fancied security, But make no choice that is stained with impurity.
Boy o' mine, boy o' mine, time shall command of you Thought from the brain of you, work from the hand of you; Voices of pleasure shall whisper and call to you, Luring you far from the hard tasks that fall to you; Then as you're meeting life's bitterest test of men, God grant you strength to be true as the best of men.
Boy o' mine, boy o' mine, singing your way along, Cling to your laughter and cheerfully play along; Kind to your neighbor be, offer your hand to him, You shall grow great as your heart shall expand to him; But when for victory sweet you are fighting there, Know that your record of life you are writing there.
Boy o' mine, boy o' mine, this is my prayer for you; Never may shame pen one line of despair for you; Never may conquest or glory mean all to you; Cling to your honor whatever shall fall to you; Rather than victory, rather than fame to you, Choose to be true and let nothing bring shame to you.
To a Little Girl
Oh, little girl with eyes of brown And smiles that fairly light the town, I wonder if you really know Just why it is we love you so, And why—with all the little girls With shining eyes and tangled curls That throng and dance this big world through— Our hearts have room for only you.
Since other little girls are gay And laugh and sing and romp in play, And all are beautiful to see, Why should you mean so much to me? And why should Mother, day and night, Make you her source of all delight, And always find in your caress Her greatest sum of happiness?
Oh, there's a reason good for this, You laughing little bright-eyed miss! In all this town, with all its girls With shining eyes and sun-kissed curls, If we should search it through and through We'd find not one so fair as you; And none, however fair of face, Within our hearts could take your place.
For, one glad day not long ago, God sent you down to us below, And said that you were ours to keep, To guard awake and watch asleep; And ever since the day you came No other child has seemed the same; No other smiles are quite so fair As those which happily you wear.
We seem to live from day to day To hear the things you have to say; And just because God gave us you, We prize the little things you do. Though God has filled this world with flowers, We like you best because you're ours— In you our greatest joys we know, And that is why we love you so.
A Feller's Hat
It's funny 'bout a feller's hat— He can't remember where it's at, Or where he took it off, or when, The time he's wantin' it again. He knows just where he leaves his shoes; His sweater he won't often lose; An' he can find his rubbers, but He can't tell where his hat is put.
A feller's hat gets anywhere. Sometimes he'll find it in a chair, Or on the sideboard, or maybe It's in the kitchen, just where he Gave it a toss beside the sink When he came in to get a drink, An' then forgot—but anyhow He never knows where it is now.
A feller's hat is never where He thinks it is when he goes there; It's never any use to look For it upon a closet hook, 'Cause it is always in some place It shouldn't be, to his disgrace, An' he will find it, like as not, Behind some radiator hot.
A feller's hat can get away From him most any time of day, So he can't ever find it when He wants it to go out again; It hides in corners dark an' grim An' seems to want to bother him; It disappears from sight somehow— I wish I knew where mine is now.
The Good Little Boy
Once there was a boy who never Tore his clothes, or hardly ever, Never made his sister mad, Never whipped fer bein' bad, Never scolded by his Ma, Never frowned at by his Pa, Always fit fer folks to see, Always good as good could be.
This good little boy from Heaven, So I'm told, was only seven, Yet he never shed real tears When his mother scrubbed his ears, An' at times when he was dressed Fer a party, in his best, He was careful of his shirt Not to get it smeared with dirt.
Used to study late at night, Learnin' how to read an' write; When he played a baseball game, Right away he always came When his mother called him in. An' he never made a din But was quiet as a mouse When they'd comp'ny in the house.
Liked to wash his hands an' face, Liked to work around the place; Never, when he'd tired of play, Left his wagon in the way, Or his bat an' ball around— Put 'em where they could be found; An' that good boy married Ma, An' to-day he is my Pa.
Green Apple Time
Green apple time! an', Oh, the joy Once more to be a healthy boy, Casting a longin' greedy eye At every tree he passes by! Riskin' the direst consequence To sneak inside a neighbor's fence An' shake from many a loaded limb The fruit that seems so near to him Gosh! but once more I'd like to be The boy I was in eighty-three.
Here I am sittin' with my pipe, Waitin' for apples to get ripe; Waitin' until the friendly sun Has bronzed 'em all an' says they're done; Not darin' any more to climb An' pick a few afore their time. No legs to run, no teeth to chew The way that healthy youngsters do; Jus' old enough to sit an' wait An' pick my apple from a plate.
Plate apples ain't to be compared With those you've ventured for an' dared. It's winnin' 'em from branches high, Or nippin' 'em when no one's by, Or findin' 'em the time you feel You really need another meal, Or comin' unexpectedly Upon a farmer's loaded tree An' grabbin' all that you can eat, That goes to make an apple sweet.
Green apple time! Go to it, boy, An' cram yourself right full o' joy; Watch for the farmer's dog an' run; There'll come a time it can't be done. There'll come a day you can't digest The fruit you've stuffed into your vest, Nor climb, but you'll sit down like me An' watch 'em ripening on the tree, An' jus' like me you'll have to wait To pick your apples from a plate.
She Mothered Five
She mothered five! Night after night she watched a little bed, Night after night she cooled a fevered head, Day after day she guarded little feet, Taught little minds the dangers of the street, Taught little lips to utter simple prayers, Whispered of strength that some day would be theirs, And trained them all to use it as they should. She gave her babies to the nation's good.
She mothered five! She gave her beauty—from her cheeks let fade Their rose-blush beauty—to her mother trade. She saw the wrinkles furrowing her brow, Yet smiling said: "My boy grows stronger now." When pleasures called she turned away and said: "I dare not leave my babies to be fed By strangers' hands; besides they are too small; I must be near to hear them when they call."
She mothered five! Night after night they sat about her knee And heard her tell of what some day would be. From her they learned that in the world outside Are cruelty and vice and selfishness and pride; From her they learned the wrongs they ought to shun, What things to love, what work must still be done. She led them through the labyrinth of youth And brought five men and women up to truth.
She mothered five! Her name may be unknown save to the few; Of her the outside world but little knew; But somewhere five are treading virtue's ways, Serving the world and brightening its days; Somewhere are five, who, tempted, stand upright, Who cling to honor, keep her memory bright; Somewhere this mother toils and is alive No more as one, but in the breasts of five.
Little Girls Are Best
Little girls are mighty nice, Take 'em any way they come; They are always worth their price; Life without 'em would be glum; Run earth's lists of treasures through, Pile 'em high until they fall, Gold an' costly jewels, too— Little girls are best of all.
Nothing equals 'em on earth! I'm an old man an' I know Any little girl is worth More than all the gold below; Eyes o' blue or brown or gray, Raven hair or golden curls, There's no joy on earth to-day Quite so fine as little girls.
Pudgy nose or freckled face, Fairy-like or plain to see, God has surely blessed the place Where a little girl may be; They're the jewels of His crown Dropped to earth from heaven above, Like wee angel souls sent down To remind us of His love.
God has made some lovely things— Roses red an' skies o' blue, Trees an' babbling silver springs, Gardens glistening with dew— But take every gift to man, Big an' little, great an' small, Judge it on its merits, an' Little girls are best of all!
The World and Bud
If we were all alike, what a dreadful world 'twould be! No one would know which one was you or which of us was me. We'd never have a "Skinny" or a "Freckles" or a "Fat," An' there wouldn't be a sissy boy to wear a velvet hat; An' we'd all of us be pitchers when we played a baseball match, For we'd never have a feller who'd have nerve enough to catch.
If we were all alike an' looked an' thought the same, I wonder how'd they call us, 'cause there'd only be one name. An' there'd only be one flavor for our ice cream sodas, too, An' one color for a necktie an' I 'spose that would be blue; An' maybe we'd have mothers who were very fond of curls, An' they'd make us fellers wear our hair like lovely little girls.
Sometimes I think it's funny when I hear some feller say That he isn't fond of chocolate, when I eat it every day. Or some other fellow doesn't like the books I like to read; But I'm glad that we are different, yes, siree! I am indeed. If everybody looked alike an' talked alike, Oh, Gee! We'd never know which one was you or which of us was me.
Aw Gee Whiz!
Queerest little chap he is, Always saying: "Aw Gee Whiz!" Needing something from the store That you've got to send him for And you call him from his play, Then it is you hear him say: "Aw Gee Whiz!"
Seems that most expressive phrase Is a part of childhood days; Call him in at supper time, Hands and face all smeared with grime, Send him up to wash, and he Answers you disgustedly: "Aw Gee Whiz!"
When it's time to go to bed And he'd rather play instead, As you call him from the street, He comes in with dragging feet, Knowing that he has to go, Then it is he mutters low: "Aw Gee Whiz!"
Makes no difference what you ask Of him as a little task; He has yet to learn that life Crosses many a joy with strife, So when duty mars his play, Always we can hear him say: "Aw Gee Whiz!"
Always whenever I want to play I've got to practice an hour a day, Get through breakfast an' make my bed, And Mother says: "Marjorie, run ahead! There's a time for work and a time for fun, So go and get your practicing done." And Bud, he chuckles and says to me: "Yes, do your practicing, Marjorie." A brother's an awful tease, you know, And he just says that 'cause I hate it so.
They leave me alone in the parlor there To play the scales or "The Maiden's Prayer," And if I stop, Mother's bound to call, "Marjorie dear, you're not playing at all! Don't waste your time, but keep right on, Or you'll have to stay when the hour is gone." Or maybe the maid looks in at me And says: "You're not playing, as I can see. Just hustle along—I've got work to do And I can't dust the room until you get through."
Then when I've run over the scales and things Like "The Fairies' Dance," or "The Mountain Springs," And my fingers ache and my head is sore, I find I must sit there a half hour more. An hour is terribly long, I say, When you've got to practice and want to play. So slowly at times has the big hand dropped That I was sure that the clock had stopped, But Mother called down to me: "Don't forget— A full hour, please. It's not over yet."
Oh, when I get big and have children, too, There's one thing that I will never do— I won't have brothers to tease the girls And make them mad when they pull their curls And laugh at them when they've got to stay And practice their music an hour a day; I won't have a maid like the one we've got, That likes to boss you around a lot; And I won't have a clock that can go so slow When it's practice time, 'cause I hate it so.
The Christmas Gift for Mother
In the Christmas times of the long ago, There was one event we used to know That was better than any other; It wasn't the toys that we hoped to get, But the talks we had—and I hear them yet— Of the gift we'd buy for Mother.
If ever love fashioned a Christmas gift, Or saved its money and practiced thrift, 'Twas done in those days, my brother— Those golden times of Long Gone By, Of our happiest years, when you and I Talked over the gift for Mother.
We hadn't gone forth on our different ways Nor coined our lives into yesterdays In the fires that smelt and smother, And we whispered and planned in our youthful glee Of that marvelous "something" which was to be The gift of our hearts to Mother.
It had to be all that our purse could give, Something she'd treasure while she could live, And better than any other. We gave it the best of our love and thought, And, Oh, the joy when at last we'd bought That marvelous gift for Mother!
Now I think as we go on our different ways, Of the joy of those vanished yesterdays. How good it would be, my brother, If this Christmas-time we could only know That same sweet thrill of the Long Ago When we shared in the gift for Mother.
It's bedtime, and we lock the door, Put out the lights—the day is o'er; All that can come of good or ill, The record of this day to fill, Is written down; the worries cease, And old and young may rest in peace.
We knew not when we started out What dangers hedged us all about, What little pleasures we should gain, What should be ours to bear of pain. But now the fires are burning low, And this day's history we know.
No harm has come. The laughter here Has been unbroken by a tear; We've met no hurt too great to bear, We have not had to bow to care; The children all are safe in bed, There's nothing now for us to dread.
When bedtime comes and we can say That we have safely lived the day. How sweet the calm that settles down And shuts away the noisy town! There is no danger now to fear Until to-morrow shall appear.
When the long bedtime comes, and I In sleep eternal come to lie— When life has nothing more in store, And silently I close the door, God grant my weary soul may claim Security from hurt and shame.
The Willing Horse
I'd rather be the willing horse that people ride to death Than be the proud and haughty steed that children dare not touch; I'd rather haul a merry pack and finish out of breath Than never leave the barn to toil because I'm worth too much. So boast your noble pedigrees And talk of manners, if you please— The weary horse enjoys his ease When all his work is done; The willing horse, day in and out, Can hear the merry children shout And every time they are about He shares in all their fun.
I want no guards beside my door to pick and choose my friends for me; I would not be shut off from men as is the fancy steed; I do not care when I go by that no one turns his eyes to see The dashing manner of my gait which marks my noble breed; I am content to trudge the road And willingly to draw my load— Sometimes to know the spur and goad When I begin to lag; I'd rather feel the collar jerk And tug at me, the while I work, Than all the tasks of life to shirk As does the stylish nag.
So let me be the willing horse that now and then is overtasked, Let me be one the children love and freely dare to ride— I'd rather be the gentle steed of which too much is sometimes asked Than be the one that never knows the youngsters at his side. So drive me wheresoe'er you will, On level road or up the hill, Pile on my back the burdens still And run me out of breath— In love and friendship, day by day, And kindly words I'll take my pay; A willing horse; that is the way I choose to meet my death.
Where Children Play
On every street there's a certain place Where the children gather to romp and race; There's a certain house where they meet in throngs To play their games and to sing their songs, And they trample the lawn with their busy feet And they scatter their playthings about the street, But though some folks order them off, I say, Let the house be mine where the children play.
Armies gather about the door And fill the air with their battle roar; Cowboys swinging their lariat loops Dash round the house with the wildest whoops, And old folks have to look out when they Are holding an Indian tribe at bay, For danger may find them on flying feet, Who pass by the house where the children meet.
There are lawns too lovely to bear the weight Of a troop of boys when they roller skate; There are porches fine that must never know The stamping of footsteps that come and go, But on every street there's a favorite place Where the children gather to romp and race, And I'm glad in my heart that it's mine to say Ours is the house where the children play.
How Do You Buy Your Money?
How do you buy your money? For money is bought and sold, And each man barters himself on earth for his silver and shining gold, And by the bargain he makes with men, the sum of his life is told.
Some buy their coins in a manly way, some buy them with honest toil; Some pay for their currency here on earth by tilling a patch of soil; Some buy it with copper and iron and steel, and some with barrels of oil.
The good man buys it from day to day by giving the best he can; He coins his strength for his children's needs and lives to a simple plan, And he keeps some time for the home he makes and some for his fellowman.
But some men buy it with women's tears, and some with a blasted name; And some will barter the joy of life for the fortune they hope to claim; And some are so mad for the clink of gold that they buy it with deeds of shame.
How do you buy your money? For money demands its price, And some men think when they purchase coin that they mustn't be over-nice— But beware of the man who would sell you gold at a shameful sacrifice!
Let every day be Mother's Day! Make roses grow along her way And beauty everywhere. Oh, never let her eyes be wet With tears of sorrow or regret, And never cease to care! Come, grown up children, and rejoice That you can hear your mother's voice!
A day for her! For you she gave Long years of love and service brave; For you her youth was spent. There was no weight of hurt or care Too heavy for her strength to bear; She followed where you went; Her courage and her love sublime You could depend on all the time.
No day or night she set apart On which to open wide her heart And welcome you within; There was no hour you would not be First in her thought and memory, Though you were black as sin! Though skies were gray or skies were blue Not once has she forgotten you.
Let every day be Mother's Day! With love and roses strew her way, And smiles of joy and pride! Come, grown up children, to the knee Where long ago you used to be And never turn aside; Oh, never let her eyes grow wet With tears, because her babes forget.
When We Play the Fool
Last night I stood in a tawdry place And watched the ways of the human race. I looked at a party of shrieking girls Piled on a table that whirls and whirls, And saw them thrown in a tangled heap, Sprawling and squirming and several deep. And unto the wife who was standing by, "These are all angels to be," said I.
I followed the ways of the merry throng And heard the laughter and mirth and song. Into a barrel which turned and swayed Men and women a journey made, And tumbling together they seemed to be Like so many porpoises out at sea— Men and women who'd worked all day, Eagerly seeking a chance to play.
"What do you make of it all?" she said. I answered: "The dead are a long time dead, And care is bitter and duty stern, And each must weep when it comes his turn. And all grow weary and long for play, So here is laughter to end the day. Foolish? Oh, yes, it is that," said I, "But better the laugh than the dreary sigh.
"Now look at us here, for we're like them, too, And many the foolish things we do. We often grow silly and seek a smile In a thousand ways that are not worth while; Yet after the mirth and the jest are through, We shall all be judged by the deeds we do, And God shall forget on the Judgment Day The fools we were in our hours of play."
What Makes an Artist
We got to talking art one day, discussing in a general way How some can match with brush and paint the glory of a tree, And some in stone can catch the things of which the dreamy poet sings, While others seem to have no way to tell the joys they see.
Old Blake had sat in silence there and let each one of us declare Our notions of what's known as art, until he'd heard us through; And then said he: "It seems to me that any man, whoe'er he be, Becomes an artist by the good he daily tries to do.
"He need not write the books men read to be an artist. No, indeed! He need not work with paint and brush to show his love of art; Who does a kindly deed to-day and helps another on his way, Has painted beauty on a face and played the poet's part.
"Though some of us cannot express our inmost thoughts of loveliness, We prove we love the beautiful by how we act and live; The poet singing of a tree no greater poet is than he Who finds it in his heart some care unto a tree to give.
"Though he who works in marble stone the name of artist here may own, No less an artist is the man who guards his children well; 'Tis art to love the fine and true; by what we are and what we do How much we love life's nobler things to all the world we tell."
She Powders Her Nose
A woman is queer, there's no doubt about that. She hates to be thin and she hates to be fat; One minute it's laughter, the next it's a cry— You can't understand her, however you try; But there's one thing about her which everyone knows— A woman's not dressed till she powders her nose.
You never can tell what a woman will say; She's a law to herself every hour of the day. It keeps a man guessing to know what to do, And mostly he's wrong when his guessing is through; But this you can bet on, wherever she goes She'll find some occasion to powder her nose.
I've studied the sex for a number of years; I've watched her in laughter and seen her in tears; On her ways and her whims I have pondered a lot, To find what will please her and just what will not; But all that I've learned from the start to the close Is that sooner or later she'll powder her nose.
At church or a ball game, a dance or a show, There's one thing about her I know that I know— At weddings or funerals, dinners of taste, You can bet that her hand will dive into her waist, And every few minutes she'll strike up a pose, And the whole world must wait till she powders her nose.
The Chip on Your Shoulder
You'll learn when you're older that chip on your shoulder Which you dare other boys to upset, And stand up and fight for and struggle and smite for, Has caused you much shame and regret. When Time, life's adviser, has made you much wiser, You won't be so quick with the blow; You won't be so willing to fight for a shilling, And change a good friend to a foe.
You won't be a sticker for trifles, and bicker And quarrel for nothing at all; You'll grow to be kinder, more thoughtful and blinder To faults which are petty and small. You won't take the trouble your two fists to double When someone your pride may offend; When with rage now you bristle you'll smile or you'll whistle, And keep the good will of a friend.
You'll learn when you're older that chip on your shoulder Which proudly you battle to guard, Has frequently shamed you and often defamed you And left you a record that's marred! When you've grown calm and steady, you won't be so ready To fight for a difference that's small, For you'll know, when you're older that chip on your shoulder Is only a chip after all.
All for the Best
Things mostly happen for the best. However hard it seems to-day, When some fond plan has gone astray Or what you've wished for most is lost An' you sit countin' up the cost With eyes half-blind by tears o' grief While doubt is chokin' out belief, You'll find when all is understood That what seemed bad was really good.
Life can't be counted in a day. The present rain that will not stop Next autumn means a bumper crop. We wonder why some things must be— Care's purpose we can seldom see— An' yet long afterwards we turn To view the past, an' then we learn That what once filled our minds with doubt Was good for us as it worked out.
I've never known an hour of care But that I've later come to see That it has brought some joy to me. Even the sorrows I have borne, Leavin' me lonely an' forlorn An' hurt an' bruised an' sick at heart, In life's great plan have had a part. An' though I could not understand Why I should bow to Death's command, As time went on I came to know That it was really better so.
Things mostly happen for the best. So narrow is our vision here That we are blinded by a tear An' stunned by every hurt an' blow Which comes to-day to strike us low. An' yet some day we turn an' find That what seemed cruel once was kind. Most things, I hold, are wisely planned If we could only understand.
The Kick Under the Table
After a man has been married awhile, And his wife has grown used to his manner and style, When she knows from the twinkle that lights up his eye The thoughts he is thinking, the wherefore and why, And just what he'll say, and just what he'll do, And is sure that he'll make a bad break ere he's through, She has one little trick that she'll work when she's able— She takes a sly kick at him under the table.
He may fancy the story he's telling is true, Or he's doing the thing which is proper to do; He may fancy he's holding his own with the rest, The life of the party and right at his best, When quickly he learns to his utter dismay, That he mustn't say what he's just started to say. He is stopped at the place where he hoped to begin, By his wife, who has taken a kick at his shin.
If he picks the wrong fork for the salad, he knows That fact by the feel of his wife's slippered toes. If he's started a bit of untellable news, On the calf of his leg there is planted a bruise. Oh, I wonder sometimes what would happen to me If the wife were not seated just where she could be On guard every minute to watch every trick, And keep me in line all the time with her kick.
Leader of the Gang
Seems only just a year ago that he was toddling round the place In pretty little colored suits and with a pink and shining face. I used to hold him in my arms to watch when our canary sang, And now tonight he tells me that he's leader of his gang.
It seems but yesterday, I vow, that I with fear was almost dumb, Living those dreadful hours of care waiting the time for him to come; And I can still recall the thrill of that first cry of his which rang Within our walls. And now that babe tells me he's leader of his gang.
Gone from our lives are all the joys which yesterday we used to own; The baby that we thought we had, out of the little home has flown, And in his place another stands, whose garments in disorder hang, A lad who now with pride proclaims that he's the leader of his gang.
And yet somehow I do not grieve for what it seems we may have lost; To have so strong a boy as this, most cheerfully I pay the cost. I find myself a sense of joy to comfort every little pang, And pray that they shall find in him a worthy leader of the gang.
Ma and the Ouija Board
I don't know what it's all about, but Ma says that she wants to know If spirits in the other world can really talk to us below. An' Pa says, "Gosh! there's folks enough on earth to talk to, I should think, Without you pesterin' the folks whose souls have gone across the brink." But Ma, she wants to find out things an' study on her own accord, An' so a month or two ago she went an' bought a ouija board.
It's just a shiny piece of wood, with letters printed here an' there, An' has a little table which you put your fingers on with care, An' then you sit an' whisper low some question that you want to know. Then by an' by the spirit comes an' makes the little table go, An' Ma, she starts to giggle then an' Pa just grumbles out, "Oh, Lord! I wish you hadn't bought this thing. We didn't need a ouija board."
"You're movin' it!" says Ma to Pa. "I'm not!" says Pa, "I know it's you; You're makin' it spell things to us that you know very well aren't true." "That isn't so," says Ma to him, "but I am certain from the way The ouija moves that you're the one who's tellin' it just what to say." "It's just 'lectricity," says Pa; "like batteries all men are stored, But anyhow I don't believe we ought to have a ouija board."
One night Ma got it out, an' said, "Now, Pa, I want you to be fair, Just keep right still an' let your hands rest lightly on the table there. Oh, Ouija, tell me, tell me true, are we to buy another car, An' will we get it very soon?" she asked. "Oh, tell us from afar." "Don't buy a car," the letters spelled, "the price this year you can't afford." Then Ma got mad, an' since that time she's never used the ouija board.
The Call of the Woods
I must get out to the woods again, to the whispering trees and the birds awing, Away from the haunts of pale-faced men, to the spaces wide where strength is king; I must get out where the skies are blue and the air is clean and the rest is sweet, Out where there's never a task to do or a goal to reach or a foe to meet.
I must get out on the trails once more that wind through shadowy haunts and cool, Away from the presence of wall and door, and see myself in a crystal pool; I must get out with the silent things, where neither laughter nor hate is heard, Where malice never the humblest stings and no one is hurt by a spoken word.
Oh, I've heard the call of the tall white pine, and heard the call of the running brook; I'm tired of the tasks which each day are mine; I'm weary of reading a printed book. I want to get out of the din and strife, the clang and clamor of turning wheel, And walk for a day where life is life, and the joys are true and the pictures real.
For this and that and various things It seems that men must get together, To purchase cups or diamond rings Or to discuss the price of leather. From nine to ten, or two to three, Or any hour that's fast and fleeting, There is a constant call for me To go to some committee meeting.
The church has serious work to do, The lodge and club has need of workers, They ask for just an hour or two— Surely I will not join the shirkers? Though I have duties of my own I should not drop before completing, There comes the call by telephone To go to some committee meeting.
No longer may I eat my lunch In quietude and contemplation; I must foregather with the bunch To raise a fund to save the nation. And I must talk of plans and schemes The while a scanty bite I'm eating, Until I vow to-day it seems My life is one committee meeting.
When over me the night shall fall, And my poor soul goes upwards winging Unto that heavenly realm, where all Is bright with joy and gay with singing, I hope to hear St. Peter say— And I shall thank him for the greeting: "Come in and rest from day to day; Here there is no committee meeting!"
Pa and the Monthly Bills
When Ma gets out the monthly bills and sets them all in front of Dad, She makes us children run away because she knows he may get mad; An' then she smiles a bit and says: "I hope you will not fuss and fret— There's nothing here except the things I absolutely had to get!" An' Pa he looks 'em over first. "The things you had to have!" says he; "I s'pose that we'd have died without that twenty dollar longeree."
Then he starts in to write the checks for laundry an' for light an' gas, An' never says a word 'bout them—because they're small he lets 'em pass. But when he starts to grunt an' groan, an' stops the while his pipe he fills, We know that he is gettin' down to where Ma's hid the bigger bills. "Just what we had to have," says he, "an' I'm supposed to pay the tolls; Nine dollars an' a half for—say, what the deuce are camisoles?
"If you should break a leg," says Pa, "an couldn't get down town to shop, I'll bet the dry goods men would see their business take an awful drop, An' if they missed you for a week, they'd have to fire a dozen clerks! Say, couldn't we have got along without this bunch of Billie Burkes?" But Ma just sits an' grins at him, an' never has a word to say, Because she says Pa likes to fuss about the bills he has to pay.
Out near the links where I go to play My favorite game from day to day, There's a friend of mine that I've never met Walked with or broken bread with, yet I've talked to him oft and he's talked to me Whenever I've been where he's chanced to be; He's a cheery old chap who keeps out of sight, A gay little fellow whose name is Bob White.
Bob White! Bob White! I can hear him call As I follow the trail to my little ball— Bob White! Bob White! with a note of cheer That was just designed for a mortal ear. Then I drift far off from the world of men And I send an answer right back to him then; An' we whistle away to each other there, Glad of the life which is ours to share.
Bob White! Bob White! May you live to be The head of a numerous family! May you boldly call to your friends out here, With never an enemy's gun to fear. I'm a better man as I pass along, For your cheery call and your bit of song. May your food be plenty and skies be bright To the end of your days, good friend Bob White!
When Ma Wants Something New
Last night Ma said to Pa: "My dear, The Williamsons are coming here To visit for a week or two, An' I must have a talk with you. We need some things which we must get— You promised me a dinner set, An' I should like it while they're here." An' Pa looked up an' said: "My dear, A dinner set? Well, I guess not. What's happened to the one we've got?"
"We need a parlor rug," says Ma. "We've got a parlor rug," says Pa. "We ought to have another chair." "You're sittin' in a good one there." "The parlor curtains are a fright." "When these are washed they look all right." "The old stuff's pitiful to see." "It still looks mighty good to me." "The sofa's worn beyond repair." "It doesn't look so bad, I swear."
"Gee Whiz, you make me tired," says Ma. "Why, what's the matter now?" says Pa. "You come an' go an' never see How old our stuff has grown to be; It still looks just the same to you As what it did when it was new, An' every time you think it strange That I should like to have a change." "I'm gettin' old," says Pa. "Maybe You'd like a younger man than me."
"If this old rug was worn an' thin, At night you'd still come walkin' in An' throw your hat upon a chair An' never see a single tear; So long as any chair could stand An' bear your weight you'd think it grand. If home depended all on you, It never would get something new." "All right," says Pa, "go buy the stuff! But, say, am I still good enough?"
Sittin' on the Porch
Sittin' on the porch at night when all the tasks are done, Just restin' there an' talkin', with my easy slippers on, An' my shirt band thrown wide open an' my feet upon the rail, Oh, it's then I'm at my richest, with a wealth that cannot fail; For the scent of early roses seems to flood the evening air, An' a throne of downright gladness is my wicker rocking chair.
The dog asleep beside me, an' the children rompin' 'round With their shrieks of merry laughter, Oh, there is no gladder sound To the ears o' weary mortals, spite of all the scoffers say, Or a grander bit of music than the children at their play! An' I tell myself times over, when I'm sittin' there at night, That the world in which I'm livin' is a place o' real delight.
Then the moon begins its climbin' an' the stars shine overhead, An' the mother calls the children an' she takes 'em up to bed, An' I smoke my pipe in silence an' I think o' many things, An' balance up my riches with the lonesomeness o' kings, An' I come to this conclusion, an' I'll wager that I'm right— That I'm happier than they are, sittin' on my porch at night.
With Dog and Gun
Out in the woods with a dog an' gun Is my idea of a real day's fun. 'Tain't the birds that I'm out to kill That furnish me with the finest thrill, 'Cause I never worry or fret a lot, Or curse my luck if I miss a shot. There's many a time, an' I don't know why, That I shoot too low or I aim too high, An' all I can see is the distant whirr Of a bird that's gittin' back home to her— Yep, gittin' back home at the end o' day, An' I'm just as glad that he got away.
There's a whole lot more in the woods o' fall Than the birds you bag—if you think at all. There's colors o' gold an' red an' brown As never were known in the busy town; There's room to breathe in the purest air An' something worth looking at everywhere; There's the dog who's leadin' you on an' on To a patch o' cover where birds have gone, An' standin' there, without move or change, Till you give the sign that you've got the range. That's thrill enough for my blood, I say, So why should I care if they get away?
Fact is, there are times that I'd ruther miss Than to bring 'em down, 'cause I feel like this: There's a heap more joy in a living thing Than a breast crushed in or a broken wing, An' I can't feel right, an' I never will, When I look at a bird that I've dared to kill. Oh, I'm jus' plumb happy to tramp about An' follow my dog as he hunts 'em out, Jus' watchin' him point in his silent way Where the Bob Whites are an' the partridge stay; For the joy o' the great outdoors I've had, So why should I care if my aim is bad?
Old Mister Laughter
Old Mister Laughter Comes a-grinnin' down the way, Singin': "Never mind your troubles, For they'll surely pass away." Singin': "Now the sun is shinin' An' there's roses everywhere; To-morrow will be soon enough To fret about your care."
Old Mister Laughter Comes a-grinnin' at my door, Singin': "Don't go after money When you've got enough and more." Singin': "Laugh with me this mornin' An' be happy while you may. What's the use of riches If they never let you play?"
Old Mister Laughter Comes a-grinnin' all the time, Singin' happy songs o' gladness In a good old-fashioned rhyme. Singin': "Keep the smiles a-goin', Till they write your epitaph, And don't let fame or fortune Ever steal away your laugh."
A Family Row
I freely confess there are good friends of mine, With whom we are often invited to dine, Who get on my nerves so that I cannot eat Or stay with my usual ease in my seat; For I know that if something should chance to occur Which he may not like or which doesn't please her, That we'll have to try to be pleasant somehow While they stage a fine little family row.
Now a family row is a private affair, And guests, I am certain, should never be there; I have freely maintained that a man and his wife Cannot always agree on their journey through life, But they ought not to bicker and wrangle and shout And show off their rage when their friends are about; It takes all the joy from a party, I vow, When some couple starts up a family row.
It's a difficult job to stay cool and polite When your host and your hostess are staging a fight: It's hard to talk sweet to a dame with a frown Or smile at a man that you want to knock down. You sit like a dummy and look far away, But you just can't help hearing the harsh things they say. It ruins the dinner, I'm telling you now, When your host and your hostess get mixed in a row.
The Lucky Man
Luck had a favor to bestow And wondered where to let it go.
"No lazy man on earth," said she, "Shall get this happy gift from me.
"I will not pass it to the man Who will not do the best he can.
"I will not make this splendid gift To one who has not practiced thrift.
"It shall not benefit deceit, Nor help the man who's played the cheat.
"He that has failed to fight with pluck Shall never know the Goddess Luck.
"I'll look around a bit to see What man has earned some help from me."
She found a man whose hands were soiled Because from day to day he'd toiled.
He'd dreamed by night and worked by day To make life's contest go his way.
He'd kept his post and daily slaved, And something of his wage he'd saved.
He'd clutched at every circumstance Which might have been his golden chance.
The goddess smiled and then, kerslap! She dropped her favor in his lap.
They're all away And the house is still, And the dust lies thick On the window sill, And the stairway creaks In a solemn tone This taunting phrase: "You are all alone."
They've gone away And the rooms are bare; I miss his cap From a parlor chair. And I miss the toys In the lonely hall, But most of any I miss his call.
I miss the shouts And the laughter gay Which greeted me At the close of day, And there isn't a thing In the house we own But sobbingly says: "You are all alone."
It's only a house That is mine to know, An empty house That is cold with woe; Like a prison grim With its bars of black, And it won't be home Till they all come back.
The Cookie Jar
You can rig up a house with all manner of things, The prayer rugs of sultans and princes and kings; You can hang on its walls the old tapestries rare Which some dead Egyptian once treasured with care; But though costly and gorgeous its furnishings are, It must have, to be homelike, an old cookie jar.
There are just a few things that a home must possess, Besides all your money and all your success— A few good old books which some loved one has read, Some trinkets of those whose sweet spirits have fled, And then in the pantry, not shoved back too far For the hungry to get to, that old cookie jar.
Let the house be a mansion, I care not at all! Let the finest of pictures be hung on each wall, Let the carpets be made of the richest velour, And the chairs only those which great wealth can procure, I'd still want to keep for the joy of my flock That homey, old-fashioned, well-filled cookie crock.
Like the love of the Mother it shines through our years; It has soothed all our hurts and has dried away tears; It has paid us for toiling; in sorrow or joy, It has always shown kindness to each girl and boy; And I'm sorry for people, whoever they are, Who live in a house where there's no cookie jar.
Lord, we've had our little wrangles, an' we've had our little bouts; There's many a time, I reckon, that we have been on the outs; My tongue's a trifle hasty an' my temper's apt to fly, An' Mother, let me tell you, has a sting in her reply, But I couldn't live without her, an' it's plain as plain can be That in fair or sunny weather Mother needs a man like me.
I've banged the door an' muttered angry words beneath my breath, For at times when she was scoldin' Mother's plagued me most to death, But we've always laughed it over, when we'd both cooled down a bit, An' we never had a difference but a smile would settle it. An' if such a thing could happen, we could share life's joys an' tears An' live right on together for another thousand years.
Some men give up too easy in the game o' married life; They haven't got the courage to be worthy of a wife; An' I've seen a lot o' women that have made their lives a mess, 'Cause they couldn't bear the burdens that are, mixed with happiness. So long as folks are human they'll have many faults that jar, An' the way to live with people is to take them as they are.
We've been forty years together, good an' bad, an' rain an' shine; I've forgotten Mother's faults now an' she never mentions mine. In the days when sorrow struck us an' we shared a common woe We just leaned upon each other, an' our weakness didn't show. An' I learned how much I need her an' how tender she can be An' through it, maybe, Mother saw the better side o' me.
The Wide Outdoors
The rich may pay for orchids rare, but, Oh the apple tree Flings out its blossoms to the world for every eye to see, And all who sigh for loveliness may walk beneath the sky And claim a richer beauty than man's gold can ever buy.
The blooming cherry trees are free for all to look upon; The dogwood buds for all of us, and not some favorite one; The wide outdoors is no man's own; the stranger on the street Can cast his eyes on many a rose and claim its fragrance sweet.
Small gardens are shut in by walls, but none can wall the sky, And none can hide the friendly trees from all who travel by; And none can hold the apple boughs and claim them for his own, For all the beauties of the earth belong to God alone.
So let me walk the world just now and wander far and near; Earth's loveliness is mine to see, its music mine to hear; There's not a single apple bough that spills its blooms about But I can claim the joy of it, and none can shut me out.
Comes in flying from the street; "Where's Mamma?" Friend or stranger thus he'll greet: "Where's Mamma?" Doesn't want to say hello, Home from school or play he'll go Straight to what he wants to know: "Where's Mamma?"
Many times a day he'll shout, "Where's Mamma?" Seems afraid that she's gone out; "Where's Mamma?" Is his first thought at the door— She's the one he's looking for, And he questions o'er and o'er, "Where's Mamma?"
Can't be happy till he knows: "Where's Mamma?" So he begs us to disclose "Where's Mamma?" And it often seems to me, As I hear his anxious plea, That no sweeter phrase can be: "Where's Mamma?"
Like to hear it day by day; "Where's Mamma?" Loveliest phrase that lips can say: "Where's Mamma?" And I pray as time shall flow, And the long years come and go, That he'll always want to know "Where's Mamma?"
Drowsy old summer, with nothing to do, I'd like to be drowsin' an' dreamin' with you; I'd like to stretch out in the shade of a tree, An' fancy the white clouds were ships out at sea, Or castles with turrets and treasures and things, And peopled with princesses, fairies and kings, An' just drench my soul with the glorious joy Which was mine to possess as a barefooted boy.
Drowsy old summer, your skies are as blue As the skies which a dreamy-eyed youngster once knew, An' I fancy to-day all the pictures are there— The ships an' the pirates an' princesses fair, The red scenes of battle, the gay, cheering throngs Which greeted the hero who righted all wrongs; But somehow or other, these old eyes of mine Can't see what they did as a youngster of nine.
Drowsy old summer, I'd like to forget Some things which I've learned an' some hurts I have met; I'd like the old visions of splendor an' joy Which were mine to possess as a barefooted boy When I dreamed of the glorious deeds I would do As soon as I'd galloped my brief boyhood through; I'd like to come back an' look into your skies With that wondrous belief an' those far-seeing eyes.
Drowsy old summer, my dream days have gone; Only things which are real I must now look upon; No longer I see in the skies overhead The pictures that were, for the last one has fled. I have learned that not all of our dreams can come true; That the toilers are many and heroes are few; But I'd like once again to look up there an' see The man that I fancied some day I might be.