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An Old Man's Counsel (Poem)

What you are weary of life,
Falter thus soon in the way,
Dream that its suffering and strife
Darken the light of your day?

Think you that Fate is unkind,
Singles you out from the mass,
Burdens you body and mind,
Hampers your steps as you pass?

Wrong? why of course you are wrong;
Listen my lad to a friend
Who’s travelled the road for long
And now is in sight of the end.

Fate picked you out from the rest?
Pardon the laughter my boy:
The truth, tho’ it hurt, will be best.
Illusions like these to destroy.

Why, your proportion's astray,
Self bulks too large in your plan,
Others you see far away,
Only their faces you scan.

Because you may find there a smile,
Judge not the heart must be light,
Often woe’s heaviest pile
Is buried the furthest from sight.

When you have granted the fact,
Suffering is common to all,
Make with your conscience a pact
To shoulder these burdens that gall.

Thus you will come to perceive
A purpose behind all the tears,
The good that our sufferings weave,
The love that endures thro’ the years.

Enough of this preaching my boy,
’Tis life that must yield you a creed;
Go, be courageous, my boy,
And with you an old man’s God-speed.

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Bertram Pickard

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