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The Choice
by
Edmund Vance Cooke


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The little it takes to make life bright,
     If we open our eyes to get it!
And the trifle which makes it black as night,
     If we close our lids and let it!
Behold, as the world goes whirling by,
It is gloomy, or glad, as it fits your eye.

As it fits your eye, and I mean by that
     You find what you look for mostly;
You can feed your happiness full and fat,
     You can make your miseries ghostly,
Or you can forget every joy you own
By coveting something beyond your zone.

In the storms of life we can fret the eye
     Where the guttering mud is drifted,
Or we can look to the world-wide sky
     Where the Artist’s scenes are shifted.
Puddles are oceans in miniatures,
Or merely puddles; the choice is yours.

We can strip our niggardly souls so bare
     That we haggle a penny between us;
Or we can be rich in a common share
     Of the Pleiades and Venus.
You can lift your soul to its outermost look,
Or can keep it packed in a pockebook.

We may follow a phantom the arid miles
     To a mountain of cankered treasure,
Or we can find, in a baby’s smiles,
     The pulse of a living pleasure.
We may drink of the sea until we burst,
While the trickling spring woud have quenched our
     thirst.

 

From Impertinent Poems (Dodge Publishing Company, 1903).
This poem is in the public domain.

 

 

 

 

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Edmund Vance Cooke (1866 - 1932), often referred to as "the poet laureate of childhood," was born in 1866, in Ontario, Canada. He began working at the White Sewing Machine Co. factory as a teenager and stayed there for 14 years, until he became a self-employed poet and lecturer in 1893. His first book of poems, A Patch of Pansies, came out the next year. Edmund was a fine and highly entertaining poet whom many critics consider underrated; he published sixteen collections of poetry during the course of his career, plus many children's books.

 

 

 

 

 


New comments are closed for now.
blueskies:
Edmund nailed IT! Thanks, Jayne.
Posted 02/25/2017 09:51 AM
Lori Levy:
True!
Posted 02/25/2017 09:29 AM
Jean :D:
What a wonderful attitude changer! Good lessons for one and all. Right on!
Posted 02/25/2017 04:53 AM


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