Sunday, January 2, 2011


Editor's note: "I suppose every living person was born with a desire to be successful, which is good, except for the fact that there are different definitions for success," Dad wrote as the introduction to this poem. That seems to me to be food for thought as we start a new year.

I'd like to be successful,
Like some fellows that I know,
And get my name in newsprint,
And on the radio;
And have a lot of money
To spend, or give away,
And just sort of take it easy,
And live from day to day.

I reckon that's wishful thinking,
It's not for the likes of me;
I'll live and die a poor man,
As far as I can see;
But sometimes a fellow's better
Off than what he knows,
There's more to life than money,
And fame, and fancy clothes!

And when I stop and study 'bout
The blessings that I've got,
I feel ashamed to think that I've
Complained about my lot.
I've got a home and family
That money couldn't buy,
And no king, in all his glory
Has had more fun than I.

I've made a lot of friendships
That time will not erase,
And I hope that my departing
Will leave a little empty place.
Oh, it's nice to dream of money,
And the pleasure that it brings,
If we don't forget the value
Of some other precious things.

So when we inventory,
Let us pause, and ponder whether
We have counted all our blessings,
When we add it all together.
When our numbered days are over,
And we're called to meet our fate,
Will we brag about our riches,
To the keeper of the gate?

Will he ask us how much money
We have stored away on earth,
Or will he have some other way
To figure up our worth?
Yes, I'd like to be successful,
So would everyone, I guess,
But let's all be mighty careful
How we define success!

--Acres of Verse (1994)

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