Poems by others, Poetry Friday

Poetry Friday – aim high edition

Welcome to Poetry Friday, hosted right here today.

When I realized, early this month, that I, a Canadian, had signed up to host on the very day of the U.S. inauguration, I gave myself a head slap. What was I thinking? Why hadn’t I noticed earlier? I feel like the wrong person to host today, but things are what they are.

I know how devastated many in this group are over the election results. Others may be jubilant. Though I have no skin in this particular game, I too am a citizen of a democracy, have seen my share of chosen candidates and preferred parties lose and win, know how demoralized, angry, upset, even punchy I feel when they lose, how ecstatic I am when they win.

In the end, though, we have control over so little. The weather, who our neighbors will be, what our family and friends think, all kinds of circumstances including the outcome of elections are out of our hands (except, of course, for our one vote).

But we do control one thing—at least to a greater extent than others: ourselves. And so I leave you with an old and idealistic challenge posed by one of your own—something to strive for, no matter what goes on in the rest of the world.


View of Mt. Baker from BC  (Photo © 2017 by V. Nesdoly)


~ by Alice Cary (1820-1871)

Truth is in being, not seeming;
In doing each day that goes by,
Some little good—not in dreaming
Of great things to do by and by.
For whatever men say in their blindness,
And spite of the fancies of youth,
There’s nothing so kingly as kindness,
And nothing so royal as truth.

We get back our mete as we measure:
We cannot do wrong and feel right;
Nor can we give pain and gain pleasure,
For justice avenges each slight,
The air for the wing of the sparrow,
The bush for the robin and wren,
But always the path that is narrow
And straight for the children of men.

We cannot make bargains for blisses,
Nor catch them like fishes in nets,
And sometimes the thing our life misses
Helps more than the thing which it gets.
For good lieth not in pursuing,
Nor gaining of great nor of small;
But just in the doing—and doing
As we would be done by, is all.

Through envy, through malice, through hating
Against the world early and late,
No jot of our courage abating,
Our part is to work and to wait.
And slight is the sting of his trouble
Whose winnings are less than his worth;
For he who is honest is noble
Whatever his fortunes or birth.

(This poem is in the Public Domain)

The widget below is waiting to collect your Poetry Friday links. Thanks so much for joining in!


35 thoughts on “Poetry Friday – aim high edition”

  1. Thank you for hosting, Violet! I love that it is you hosting today. You offer us some solace and that is much appreciated. I love this line from Carey’s poem: “nothing so kingly as kindness”, and “nothing so royal as truth”. This week, I have a found poem from If You Were the Moon by Laura Purdie Salas…thanks to Jan Annino who had a found poem at her Bookseeds last week. It gave me the idea to find words that delighted me to include with a review. Have a great week!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Simply perfect. Thank you for hosting us with your toast to the importance of democracy worldwide, and your poem’s admonition that we work and wait and do some good every day.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you, Violet, for hosting today. You might have been the best choice for today since you have a little more distance and perspective from up north. The poem you shared is a beautiful reminder of what is important. I remind myself each day to “do some little good,” but not nearly as with as much beauty.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a striking poem for our president-elect. I think its message would be lost on him. Sad!

    My post today features two poets who are part of the 100 Thousand Poets for Change — both community activists. One is Michael Dickel of Israel, whose poem “So Thirsty” addresses war and water. The other is Menka Shivdasani from Mumbai, India. Her poem “Veils” speaks to me as I prepare to attend Saturday’s women’s march on Washington.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. For he who is honest is noble
    Whatever his fortunes or birth.

    A little honesty in politics would be refreshing! Wish us well as we embark on what is sure to be a curious adventure.

    Thanks for hosting, Violet.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Clever lessons in this poem, Violet. It’s interesting to see the Golden Rule in different words: “But just in the doing—and doing/As we would be done by, is all.” I’m glad you’re hosting, thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. “We cannot do wrong and feel right” — if only that were really true, and we each had an internal discomfort if we took the wrong course. Sadly, I think often people do wrong for the right reasons. I imagine I am not the only US poet today responding to the inauguration in some way. I appreciate you hosting!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Violet, you are a great host for Poetry Friday today as you provide a poem to make us ponder. With every election we should be reminded that “Our part is to work and to wait.” I did see on the news that NYC was having a rally with Alec Baldwin who plays Trump in skits so those hundreds of people are trying to raise their voices to change the tides. Who knows the outcome?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. All my fellow poets have expressed my thoughts beautifully so I will simply say with great honesty, thank you for hosting! You are a fine diplomat, Violet!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Dear Violet, you hosting today is perfect and as it should be! Thank you for this poem and the photograph and for the reminder that we are a global community. It’s a beautiful morning here in Alabama, and I am so grateful to be alive — gratitude has gotten me through many a tough day. And one way to practice gratitude? Kindness. xo

    Liked by 1 person

  11. What a wonderful poem – old-fashioned in just the right way. My favorite part is:

    We cannot make bargains for blisses,
    Nor catch them like fishes in nets,
    And sometimes the thing our life misses
    Helps more than the thing which it gets.

    It’s so true that sometimes what we think we need isn’t really what we need, and what looks horrible ends up bringing good into our lives.

    Ruth, thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I love the poem you chose, Violet! The themes in that poem are themes you’ll find in the new book that Sylvia Vardell and I created, HERE WE GO: A Poetry Friday Power Book (reviewed by Mary Lee Hahn at https://readingyear.blogspot.com/2017/01/poetry-friday-social-activisim.html?showComment=1484923153618#c6444144998361004708. I also love the fact that you are hosting today–I think it’s a great reminder to us (in the US) that we need to think globally every day. On that topic, I’d like to recommend taking a look at the new Notable Books for a Global Society list (announced earlier this month) and past lists, too! http://clrsig.org/nbgs_books.php.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. As a fellow Canadian, I share your feelings of both helplessness and determination. America is Canada’s sibling, in a way, and as much as your siblings might drive you crazy and make you shake your head, you would never think of abandoning them, and you’ll do whatever you can to help them get better.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Violet, I I think you are the perfect person for hosting today. I wish I had something to post, but I have been inundated with moving my in-laws and sorting their house. Another week or two and I hope to be back to participating in poetry Friday.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. “There’s nothing so kingly as kindness,
    And nothing so royal as truth.”

    Thank you for Cary’s lovely poem and for the magnificent photo of Mount Baker, Violet. Perhaps you were tapped to be the host today, to share wise words and stand as witness.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Thanks so much for these lovely comments! You are all so kind and I do appreciate each one (though didn’t take the time to answer individually today). Hosting on this interesting day has been a treat!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.