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Master of human destinies am I.
Fame, love, on my footsteps wait.
Cities and fields I walk; I penetrate
Deserts and seas remote, and passing by
Hovel and mart and palace, soon or late
I knock unbidden once at every gate!

If sleeping, wake - if feasting rise before
I turn away. It is the hour of fate,
And they who follow me reach every state
Mortals desire, and conquer every foe
Save death ; but those who doubt or hesitate
Condemned to failure, penury, and woe,
Seek me in vain and uselessly implore -
I answer not, and I return no more.

     --Sen. John James Ingalls

The Second Coming

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the center cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand;
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight; somewhere in the sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
The twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches toward Bethlehem to be born?
     --William Butler Yeats


I saw them tearing a building down,
A gang of men in a busy town.
With a yo heave ho and a lusty yell,
They swung a beam and the sidewall fell.

I asked the foreman if these men were as skilled
as those he would hire if he were to build.
He laughed and said, "Oh, no indeed,
Common labor is all I need,
For they can wreck in a day or two
What builders have taken years to do."

So I asked myself, as I went my way,
Which of these roles am I to play?
Am I the builder, who works with care,
Measuring life by the rule and the square?
Or am I the wrecker who walks the town,
Content in the role of tearing down?

Your Town

If you want to live in the kind of a town,
that's the kind of a town you like,
You don't have to pack your clothes in a grip,
and go on a long, long hike.

'Cause you'll elsewhere find, what you've left behind,
there's nothing really new,
When you knock your town, it's a knock at yourself,
It isn't your town, it's you...

Real towns aren't made by men lest afraid,
that somebody else gets ahead.
If everyone works, and nobody shirks,
you can raise a town from the dead.

And so while you make your personal stake,
your neighbor can make one too.
Your town will be what you want it to be;
It isn't your town, it's you!


Be the Best of Whatever You Are

If you can't be a pine on the top of the hill,
Be a scrub in the valley — but be
The best little scrub by the side of the rill;
Be a bush if you can't be a tree.

If you can't be a bush be a bit of the grass,
And some highway happier make;
If you can't be a muskie then just be a bass —
But the liveliest bass in the lake!

We can't all be captains, we've got to be crew,
There's something for all of us here,
There's big work to do, and there's lesser to do,
And the task you must do is the near.

If you can't be a highway then just be a trail,
If you can't be the sun be a star;
It isn't by size that you win or you fail —
Be the best of whatever you are!
    —Douglas Malloch

The Builder Grows

We are all blind until we see,
That in the human plan,
Nothing is worth the making,
If it does not make the man.

Why build these cities glorious,
If man unbuilded goes?
In vain we build the world, unless
The builder also grows.
     --Edwin Markham


He drew a circle that shut me out,
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But love and I had the wit to win,
We drew a circle that took him in.
     --Edwin Markham

Somebody Else

There is a clever young fellow named "Somebody Else",
there is nothing this fellow can't do.
He is busy from morning 'til way late at night,
just substituting for you.

You're asked to do this, and asked to do that,
and what is the ready reply?
"Get somebody else, I'm too busy,
he can do it much better than I!"

There's so much to do in our service,
so much and the workers so few,
And "Somebody else" is weary and worn,
just substituting for you!

So the next time you're asked to do something worthwhile,
come back with this ready reply.
If "Somebody else" can lend time and support,
you can bet your last dime, so can I.

Indispensable Man

Sometime when you're feeling important,
Sometime when your ego's in bloom,
Sometime when you take it for granted,
You're the best qualified in the room.

Sometime when you feel that your going,
Would leave an unfillable hole,
Just follow this simple instruction,
And see how it humbles your soul.

Take a bucket and fill it with water;
Put your hand in it up to the wrist;
Pull it out and the hole that's remaining,
Is a measure of how you'll be missed.

You may splash all you please when you enter;
You can stir up the water galore;
But stop, and you'll find in a minute,
That it looks quite the same as before.

The moral in this quaint example,
Is do the best that you can.
Be proud of yourself, but remember,
There's no indispensable man!

     --Saxon White Kessinger