How Did You
Did you tackle that trouble that came your way
With a resolute heart and cheerful?
Or hide your face from the light of day
With a craven soul and fearful?
Oh, a trouble's a ton, or a trouble's an ounce,
Or a trouble is what you make it,
And it isn't the fact that you're hurt that counts,
But only how did you take it?
You are beaten to earth? Well, well, what's that?
Come up with a smiling face.
It's nothing against you to fall down flat,
But to lie there -- that's disgrace.
The harder you're thrown, why the higher you bounce;
Be proud of your blackened eye!
It isn't the fact that you're licked that counts,
It's how did you fight -- and why?
And though you be done to the death, what then?
If you battled the best you could,
If you played your part in the world of men,
Why, the Critic will call it good.
Death comes with a crawl, or comes with a pounce,
And whether he's slow or spry,
It isn't the fact that you're dead that counts,
But only how did you die?
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"Edmund Vance Cooke, popularly known as "the poet laureate of childhood," was born on June 5, 1866, in Port Dover, Ontario, Canada. He began working at 13-14 years old for the White Sewing Machine Co. factory 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. Four years later, he married Lilith Castleberry; and they had five children. He published at least 16 books of verse, as well as other books, but he is best known for his poem "How Did You Die?" Once the Detroit News launched its radio station, WWJ, in 1920, Cooke broadcast his own poems. In this he pioneered a path that Edgar Guest was to take nationwide in the 1930s. Cooke died in Cleveland on December 18, 1932."
Impertinent poems By Edmund Vance Cooke
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