Be The Best You Can
If you can’t be a pine on the top of the hill Be a scrub in the valley—but be
The best little scrub by the side of the rill; Be a bush if you can’t be a tree.
If you can’t be a bush be a bit of the grass, And some highway some happier make;
If you can’t be a muskie then just be a bass— But the liveliest bass in the lake!
We can’t all be captains, we’ve got to be crew, There’s something for all of us here.
There’s big work to do and there’s lesser to do, And the task we must do is the near.
If you can’t be a highway then just be a trail, If you can’t be the sun be a star;
It isn’t by size that you win or you fail— Be the best of whatever you are!
A Community of the Spirit
There is a community of the spirit.
Join it, and feel the delight
of walking in the noisy street
and being the noise.
Drink all your passion,
and be a disgrace.
Close both eyes
to see with the other eye.
Open your hands,
if you want to be held.
Sit down in the circle.
Quit acting like a wolf, and feel
the shepherd’s love filling you.
At night, your beloved wanders.
Don’t accept consolations.
Close your mouth against food.
Taste the lover’s mouth in yours.
You moan, “She left me.” “He left me.”
Twenty more will come.
Be empty of worrying.
Think of who created thought!
Why do you stay in prison
when the door is so wide open?
Move outside the tangle of fear-thinking.
Live in silence.
Flow down and down in always
widening rings of being.
It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them. So throw away your baggage and go forward. There are quicksands all about you, sucking at your feet, trying to suck you down into fear and self-pity and despair. That’s why you must walk so lightly. Lightly my darling.
As the bird trims her to the gale,
I trim myself to the storm of time,
I man the rudder, reef the sail,
Obey the voice at eve obeyed at prime;
“Lowly faithful, banish fear,
Right onward drive unharmed;
The port, well worth the cruise, is near,
And every wave is charmed.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Some men fail and quit. Some succeed and quit. The wise refuse to quit, whether they fail or succeed.
Ef you strike a thorn or rose, Keep a-goin’!
Ef it hails, or ef it snows, Keep a-goin!
‘Taint no use to sit an’ whine,
When the fish ain’t on yer line; Bait yer hook an’ keep a-tryin’—
When the weather kills yer crop, Keep a-goin’!
When you tumble from the top, Keep a-goin’!
S’pose you’re out of every dime, Bein’ so ain’t any crime;
Tell the world you’re feelin’ prime—
When it looks like all is up, Keep a-goin’!
Drain the sweetness from the cup, Keep a-goin’!
See the wild birds on the wing, Hear the bells that sweetly ring, When you feel like sighin’ sing—
Frank L. Stanton.
From “The Atlanta Constitution.”
My Name Is Trouble
My name is Trouble—I’m a busy bloke— I am the test of Courage—and of Class—
I bind the coward to a bitter yoke,
I drive the craven from the crowning pass;
Weaklings I crush before they come to fame; But as the red star guides across the night,
I train the stalwart for a better game; I drive the brave into a harder fight.
My name is Hard Luck—the wrecker of rare dreams— I follow all who seek the open fray;
I am the shadow where the far light gleams For those who seek to know the open way;
Quitters I break before they reach the crest,
But where the red field echoes with the drums,
I build the fighter for the final test
And mold the brave for any drive that comes.
My name is Sorrow—I shall come to all To block the surfeit of an endless joy;
Along the Sable Road I pay my call Before the sweetness of success can cloy;
And weaker souls shall weep amid the throng And fall before me, broken and dismayed;
But braver hearts shall know that I belong And take me in, serene and unafraid.
My name’s Defeat—but through the bitter fight,
To those who know, I’m something more than friend;
For I can build beyond the wrath of might And drive away all yellow from the blend;
For those who quit, I am the final blow,
But for the brave who seek their chance to learn,
I show the way, at last, beyond the foe,
To where the scarlet flames of triumph burn.
Just Be Glad
O heart of mine, we shouldn’t
What we’ve missed of calm we couldn’t
Have, you know!
What we’ve met of stormy pain,
And of sorrow’s driving rain,
We can better meet again,
If it blow!
We have erred in that dark hour
We have known,
When our tears fell with the shower,
Were not shine and shower blent
As the gracious Master meant?–
Let us temper our content
With His own.
For, we know, not every morrow
Can be sad;
So, forgetting all the sorrow
We have had,
Let us fold away our fears,
And put by our foolish tears,
And through all the coming years
Just be glad.
_James Whitcomb Riley._