I read this beautiful poem titled “Have you earned your tomorrow?” by Edgar Guest a few days ago and thought it was a lovely reminder to be mindful, be kind, and do good.
See the pic above? I clicked this when we visited Dharamsala a few years ago. How true that kindness is a language the deaf can hear and the blind can see! We were visiting the Dhauladhar mountain range where we saw this musician along the path. It is a common sight, with people offering foot massages and various other services to tourists. Often these people have their kids with them. And they entertain themselves in ways only children can, with what nature offered and maybe the occasional toy.
As we walked along, enjoying the majestic view and the haunting music, we heard a child’s voice. We turned to see this little angel offering her pack of biscuits to the musician’s child. She just ran over and gave it to the child, who looked at his dad for approval and then accepted it, shyly. Kindness in action, that too from children is a memorable sight. And we found ourselves blessing this one for her spontaneous compassion. Surely she earned her tomorrow, don’t you think?
Now enjoy this poem.
Have you earned your tomorrow?
Is anybody happier because you passed his way?
Does anyone remember that you spoke to him today?
This day is almost over, and its toiling time is through;
Is there anyone to utter now a kindly word of you?
Did you give a cheerful greeting to the friend who came along?
Or a churlish sort of “Howdy” and then vanish in the throng?
Were you selfish pure and simple as you rushed along the way,
Or is someone mighty grateful for a deed you did today?
Can you say tonight, in parting with the day that’s slipping fast,
That you helped a single brother of the many that you passed?
Is a single heart rejoicing over what you did or said;
Does a man whose hopes were fading now with courage look ahead?
Did you waste the day, or lose it, was it well or sorely spent?
Did you leave a trail of kindness or a scar of discontent?
As you close your eyes in slumber do you think that God would say,
You have earned one more tomorrow by the work you did today?
I Googled the poet’s name and was impressed to see that Edgar Guest (1881-1959) started his career as a copy boy. In 1904, he began writing poems under the heading Chaff, which became a popular daily feature titled “Breakfast Table Chat” and was syndicated across three hundred other newspapers. Can you imagine?
But that’s not all. What’s really exciting is that for 30 years, Edgar Guest published a new poem every single day in the Detroit Free Press. That’s easily more than 11000 poems! People loved his work and he was known as the People’s Poet. He went on to publish a collection of verse in 1916 called “A Heap O’ Livin'” which sold over one million copies. He also wrote Just Folks, Rhythms of Childhood, Life’s Highway and Living the Years.
In 1952, he was appointed Poet Laureate for the State of Michigan where thousands of people sought his poems for moral support when they were stressed and loved his subtle humor.
Wednesday Wisdom is a series with short bursts of easy-to-consume wisdom in the form of stories, quotes, anecdotes, reflections, easy meditation and humor.