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- Poems of Purpose - 3/12 -


In simple pathways hand in hand with duty (With faith and love, too, ever at her side), May happiness be met in all her beauty The while we search for her both far and wide. Seeking for happiness we find the way Doing the things we ought to do each day.

THE ISLAND OF ENDLESS PLAY

Said Willie to Tom, 'Let us hie away To the wonderful Island of Endless Play.

It lies off the border of "No School Land," And abounds with pleasure, I understand.

There boys go swimming whenever they please In a lovely river right under the trees.

And marbles are free, so you need not buy; And kites of all sizes are ready to fly.

We sail down the Isthmus of Idle Delight - We sail and we sail for a day and a night.

And then, if favoured by billows and breeze, We land in the Harbour of Do-as-You-Please.

And there lies the Island of Endless Play, With no one to say to us, Must, or Nay.

Books are not known in that land so fair, Teachers are stoned if they set foot there.

Hurrah for the Island, so glad and free, That is the country for you and me.'

So away went Willie and Tom together On a pleasure boat, in the lazy weather, And they sailed in the teeth of a friendly breeze Right into the harbour of 'Do-as-You-Please.' Where boats and tackle and marbles and kites Were waiting them there in this Land of Delights. They dwelt on the Island of Endless Play For five long years; then one sad day A strange, dark ship sailed up to the strand, And 'Ho! for the voyage to Stupid Land,' The captain cried, with a terrible noise, As he seized the frightened and struggling boys And threw them into the dark ship's hold; And off and away sailed the captain bold. They vainly begged him to let them out, He answered only with scoff and shout. 'Boys that don't study or work,' said he, 'Must sail one day down the Ignorant Sea To Stupid Land by the No-Book Strait, With Captain Time on the Pitiless Fate.'

He let out the sails and away went the three Over the waters of Ignorant Sea, Out and away to Stupid Land; And they live there yet, I understand. And there's where every one goes, they say, Who seeks the Island of Endless Play.

THE RIVER OF SLEEP

There are curious isles in the River of Sleep, Curious isles without number. We'll visit them all as we leisurely creep Down the winding stream whose current is deep, In our beautiful barge of Slumber.

The very first isle in this wonderful stream Quite close to the shore is lying, And after a supper of cakes and cream We come to the Night-Mare-Isle with a scream, And hurry away from it crying.

And next is the Island-of-Lullaby, And every one there rejoices. The winds are only a perfumed sigh, And the birds that sing in the treetops try To imitate Mothers' voices.

A little beyond is the Isle-of-Dreams; Oh, that is the place to be straying. Everything there is just as it seems; Dolls are real and sunshine gleams, And no one calls us from playing.

And then we come to the drollest isle, And the funniest sounds come pouring Down from its borderlands once in a while, And we lean o'er our barge and listen and smile; For that is the Isle-of-Snoring.

And the very last isle in the River of Sleep Is the sunshiny Isle-of-Waking. We see it first with our eyes a-peep, And we give a yawn--then away we leap, The barge of Slumber forsaking.

THE THINGS THAT COUNT

Now, dear, it isn't the bold things, Great deeds of valour and might, That count the most in the summing up of life at the end of the day. But it is the doing of old things, Small acts that are just and right; And doing them over and over again, no matter what others say; In smiling at fate, when you want to cry, and in keeping at work when you want to play - Dear, those are the things that count.

And, dear, it isn't the new ways Where the wonder-seekers crowd That lead us into the land of content, or help us to find our own. But it is keeping to true ways, Though the music is not so loud, And there may be many a shadowed spot where we journey along alone; In flinging a prayer at the face of fear, and in changing into a song a groan - Dear, these are the things that count.

My dear, it isn't the loud part Of creeds that are pleasing to God, Not the chant of a prayer, or the hum of a hymn, or a jubilant shout or song. But it is the beautiful proud part Of walking with feet faith-shod; And in loving, loving, loving through all, no matter how things go wrong; In trusting ever, though dark the day, and in keeping your hope when the way seems long - Dear, these are the things that count.

LIMITLESS

When the motive is right and the will is strong There are no limits to human power; For that great Force back of us moves along And takes us with it, in trial's hour.

And whatever the height you yearn to climb, Though it never was trod by the foot of man, And no matter how steep--I say you CAN, If you will be patient--and use your time.

WHAT THEY SAW

Sad man, Sad man, tell me, pray, What did you see to-day?

I saw the unloved and unhappy old, waiting for slow delinquent death to come; Pale little children toiling for the rich, in rooms where sunlight is ashamed to go; The awful almshouse, where the living dead rot slowly in their hideous open graves. And there were shameful things. Soldiers and forts, and industries of death, and devil-ships, and loud- winged devil-birds, All bent on slaughter and destruction. These and yet more shameful things mine eyes beheld: Old men upon lascivious conquest bent, and young men living with no thought of God, And half-clothed women puffing at a weed, aping the vices of the underworld, Engrossed in shallow pleasures and intent on being barren wives. These things I saw. (How God must loathe His earth!)

Glad man, Glad man, tell me, pray. What did you see to-day?

I saw an aged couple, in whose eyes Shone that deep light of mingled love and faith, Which makes the earth one room of paradise, And leaves no sting in death.

I saw vast regiments of children pour,


Poems of Purpose - 3/12

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