Category Archives: Poetry


With doubt and dismay your are smitten
You think there’s no chance for you, son?
Why, the best books haven’t been written
The best race hasn’t been run,
The best score hasn’t been made yet,
The best song hasn’t been sung,
The best tune hasn’t been played yet,
Cheer up, for the world is young!

No chance? Why the world is just eager
For things that you ought to create.
Its store of true wealth is still meager
Its needs are incessant and great,
It yearns for more power and beauty
More laughter and love and romance,
More loyalty, labor and duty,
No chance–why there’s nothing but chance!

For the best verse hasn’t been rhymed yet,
The best house hasn’t been planned,
The highest peak hasn’t been climbed yet,
The mightiest rivers aren’t spanned,
Don’t worry and fret, faint hearted,
The chances have just begun,
For the Best jobs haven’t been started,
The Best work hasn’t been done.

-Berton Braley

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Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

– Robert Frost

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Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Invictus, by William Ernest Henley

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There should be no monotony
In studying your botany;
It helps to train
And spur the brain–
Unless you haven’t got any.

It teaches you, does Botany,
To know the plants and spot any,
And learn just why
They live or die–
In case you plant or pot any.

You learn, from reading Botany,
Of wooly plants and cottony
That grow on earth,
And what they’re worth,
And why some spots have not any.

You sketch the plants in Botany,
You learn to chart and plot any
Like corn or oats–
You jot down notes,
If you know how to jot any.

Your time, if you’ll allot any,
Will teach you how and what any
Old plant or tree
Can do or be–
And that’s the use of Botany!

“Botany”, by Berton Brayley

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The Joy of Life

The Joy of Life by Berton Braley:

I’d rather risk gamely
And lose for my trying
Than grind around tamely
–A cog in the mill.
I’d rather fail greatly
With courage undying
Than plod on sedately
With never a thrill!

The game’s in the playing
And, losing or winning,
The fun’s in the essaying
Your bravest and best,
In taking your chances
While fate’s wheel is spinning
And backing your fancies
With nerve and with zest!

Let stodgy folk censure
and timid folk quaver,
But life sans adventure
Is weary to bear,
The dangers we’re sharing
Give living its savour
I’d rather die daring
Than never to dare!

I came across a collection of some of Berton Braley’s best poems at Quent Cordair. Check it out!

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MacDonough's Song

Whether the People be led by the Lord,
Or lured by the loudest throat;
If it be quicker to die by the sword
Or cheaper to die by vote—
These are the things we have dealt with once,
(And they will not rise from their grave)
For Holy People, however it runs,
Endeth in wholly Slave.

Whatsoever, for any cause,
Seeketh to take or give
Power above or beyond the Laws,
Suffer it not to live!
Holy State or Holy King—
Or Holy People’s Will—
Have no truck with the senseless thing.
Order the guns and kill!


Once there was The People—Terror gave it birth;
Once there was The People and it made a Hell of Earth.
Earth arose and crushed it. Listen, O ye slain!
Once there was The People—it shall never be again!

From Rudyard Kipling’s ‘MacDonough’s Song.’ Found at

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Weak and puny, small and frail,
Helpless he with tooth or nail,
In a world of fang and claw
Where sheer power makes the law.
Into battle he had gone
With the shaggy mastodon,
With the cruel beasts of prey
Snarling in their lust to slay,
Thirsting for the taste of blood;
He has fought with fire and flood,
With a heart and soul elate
Warred with nature–and woth fate,
Dauntless, fearless, bold of eye,
Unafarid to fall and die,
Man has battled countless odds
Which would fright the very gods,
But by virtue of his will
Which no chill defeat could kill,
And by strength of heart and soul
He has striven to his goal;
By sheer vigor of attack
Beaten brute creation back
And through countless conflicts hurled
Made him Master of the World!

“Man” by Berton Braley

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Why Not?

Why shouldn’t the soul of a mortal be proud?
Life goes, it is true, like a swift-flying cloud
But while it is going and ere he has died
A man may do many things worthy of pride

The high and the humble, the meek and the brave,
Are all of them destined in time for the grave,
But while they are living and drawing their breath
They may create something that lives after death.

The Builder may build and the singer may sing,
The Painter may paint while his time’s on the wing.
And when they are buried deep down in the grime
The things they have made will remain for all time.

Man conquers the mountains, the seas and the air,
And deserts turn gardens while under his care.
He does wondrous deeds in the scant space allowed;
Why shouldn’t the soul of a mortal be proud?

Up out of the darkness we reach to the light
And slowly through ages we toil to the height.
The soul of a mortal is more than his clay;
The spirit of man can defy all decay!

So lift up your eyes to the Truth that is God’s:
In spite of disaster, in face of all odds,
The spirit of Man is not wrapped in the shroud,
Why shouldn’t the soul of a mortal be proud?

“Why Not?” by Berton Braley

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Just Anti-social

We’ve loaded him with a lot of taxes
And rules and codes but there’s something funny;
In spite of the way his burden waxes
The son-of-a-gun is making money!

Whenever he’s given a boost to trade
We’ve taken an extra tribute off it,
But still the villain is undismayed,
The son-of-a-gun has shown a Profit!

We grind out daily a brand new grist
Of regulations by Profs. And scholars,
But the Rugged Individualist
Is still producing some surplus dollars!

We’ve frowned on personal, private gains,
As most immoral, and due for censure,
But the son-of-a-gun with Business Brains
Continues risking some new adventure!

In spite of Planners and New Deal sages
With Communistical dreams and yearnings,
This Capitalistic guy pays wages,
And Some of his stocks and bonds show earnings!

We’ve moved the bases, and changed the lines,
And altered the rules for every inning,
With added penalties, doubled fines,
But the son-of-a-gun insists on winning!

It’s anti-social to fail to fail,
It makes our wonderful schemes look funny;
Rush the Traitor at once to jail,
For the son-of-a-gun is making money!.

“Just Anti-social” by Berton Braley

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The thinker

Back of the beating hammer
By which the steel is wrought,
Back of the workshop’s clamor
The seeker may find the Thought,
The Thought that is ever master
Of iron and steam and steel,
That rises above disaster
And tramples it under heel!

The drudge may fret and tinker
Or labor with lusty blows,
But back of him stands the Thinker,
The clear-eyed man who knows;
For into each plow or saber,
Each piece and part and whole,
Must go the Brains of Labor,
Which gives the work a soul!

Back of the motors humming
Back of the belts that sing,
Back of the hammers drumming.
Back of the cranes that swing,
There is the eye which scans them
Watching through stress and strain
There is the Mind which plans them-
Back of the brawn, the Brain!

Might of the roaring boiler,
Force of the engine’s thrust,
Strength of the sweating toiler-
Greatly in these we trust.
But back of them stands the Schemer,
The Thinker who drives things through;
Back of the Job-the Dreamer
Who’s making the dream come true!

“The thinker”, by Berton Braley

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