Everyday Poems by Bill Elliot
By "Bill" Elliot
"I wish to dedicate this little book to my many thousands of radio friends, whose letters of encouragement have brought me inspiration. May this little book in some small way, return some of the pleasure which they have given me." -- 'Bill' Elliot.
From the Town of Hampton Annual Report for the year 1938 in Librarian's Annual Report:
"....... We express appreciation also for two copies of the Hampton Tercentenary Pageant by Mrs. Eloise Lane Smith, several copies of the Official Pictorial Magazine sent in by Mr. Greenman, and a copy of "Everyday Poems" donated by the author (William) 'Bill' Elliot."
HAMPTON BEACHGod made a place where the angels dwell,
You and I call it heaven.
But down from that place a moonbeam fell,
Right out of the gates of heaven.
Part of its beams became a spot
Where everyone loves to stay;
Part of its beams became the sea
Where ships may sail away.
At night we gaze from the lovely sand
To see on the shimmering tide
A thousand sparkling diamonds
Making a path to your side.
Shimmering diamonds, as far as the eye can reach
With you and I and the moonbeams
On the sands of Hampton Beach.
PLAIN UNCLE BILL
God’s carved a man on the cliff’s stone face;
The profile’s more perfect than man could make -—
You can see its reflection in Profile Lake.
And if you can be, through life as you go,
As stately and proud as the Man of the Mountains ye know,
And if you hold your head just as high,
And look right into another’s eye,
Never feelin’ the terrible seerin’ of shame
And playin’ through life as if 'twere a game,
And weather the roughest of rain and sleet,
'Thout never moanin’ or makin’ a bleat,
Out of the thousands of men you’ll be the one
Just like the Man of the Mountains, my son.
So just remember as you look at that stately stone face,
That the Father of all carved up in that place,
Carved out of a mountain so silent and still,
Where all could see with a wonderin’ thrill;
Remember the moral it teaches to you,
As long as you live to be firm and true.
So now,my friends, I’ve told you, ye see,
Just why it is that I want to be
Like the Man of the Mountains so friendly and still;
And have folks call me .... just plain Uncle Bill.
THE OLD KITCHEN TABLE
I’ve been right here ninety years or more;
I’m an old kitchen table with a cracked old top,
All scratched and scarred, and my legs are warped.
But just the same I’m part of this home,
This place where humans cease to roam.
I’ve watched from the corner of my eye,
Watched honeymoon love and heaved a sigh;
I’ve seen the children as they came,
Until there were four, lookin’ just the same.
I’m an old kitchen table they used quite rough,
Stacked on my top are groceries enough.
At times like this the family’s glad,
The kids all eat and yell like mad;
But when the meal at last is done,
Washin’ the dishes doesn’t seem such fun.
I’m an old kitchen table still right here,
The children are gone and so’s the cheer;
The folks I saw as bride and groom,
Still live here with me in this old room.
But with the years their hair’s turned grey,
And oftentimes I hear 'em say,
"Remember the time when this and that,
" And then they smile, puttin’ on their hat.
I’m an old kitchen table, you may not think
I notice as much as the kitchen sink,
But I’ve seen enough to make me dream
And I love these folks so old and clean.
I’m an old kitchen table in a house that’s cold.
Just lonesome and dreamin’ of times of old.
The folks have gone to their last long rest,
And I’m thinkin’ to myself that perhaps 'twas best.
They left me alone to dream and sigh,
Wonderin’ when I’ll leave, and why.
And lookin’ back I think of the label
The one I wore when a brand new table.
TALE OF A BICYCLE
Who left his home, his Mom and Dad,
He traveled far with all the rest,
He heard the call "Young Man Go West."
And there in California’s sunny clime
He worked and saved for quite some time —
'Til soon he found that he could buy
The newest clothes, the brightest tie.
But all his life he’d had to hike —
He’d longed the most to own a bike.
So he bought a bicycle so grand
No nicer bike in all the land.
When suddenly he had, from home one day,
A letter which went on to say:
"Come home, dear boy, your Mother’s ill,
Come home right soon, our Darling Bill.
Your mother needs a change of air
Like 'California’s, you have there.
" The boy sat down to think awhile,
And then his face beamed in a smile;
He took his bike, pumped up the tires,
Tightened the spokes and fixed the wires;
Then rode far East to his old home,
Found Mom and Dad there all alone.
He rode his bike right in the room,
Where Mother lay to meet her doom;
He let the air from out of the tires,
California air rose up in spires —
His mother breathed and breathed some more;
Her feet came down upon the floor:
California air sure did the trick!
And never since has she been sick.
He runs around with a little red cap;
He carries luggage the live-long day,
And never seems to have much to say.
He never growls or grumbles a bit,
And never tries to show off wit;
He’s one of the fellows who works for you,
And then he thanks you for allowin’ him to.
Dime or no he keeps his grin,
And cheerfully takes what comes to him.
Too bad you and I can’t be more that way,
And keep a-pluggin’ the live-long day.
Too bad we can’t laugh at every tough break,
And throw all our cares right into a lake;
Too hid we’re not more like that little old chap —
The porter who wears a little red cap.
Persistence, and working by day and by night.
Do you think you’re handicapped, that life’s not fair?
That folks are not treating you right on the square?
Listen, my friend -— with attentiveness, care, and with thought,
You say that it’s true; I say that it’s not.
If you have in your mind what you’d like to be;
Just stick to your course and you’ll find the key.
The key to Opportunity’s great swing door.
But first you’ll work and you’ll work even more.
It’s the keeping on trying that really will count.
It’s this way that all objects, I know, you’ll surmount.
If you’ve got what it takes to be great, my friend
You may start in a town your long life to spend;
But if it’s genius you can’t keep it down,
You’ll be searched out no matter how small be the town.
So set your eye on the goal that you seek—
Keep trying —- not just a day or a week —
But forever, keep fighting, with one thing in mind,
Success as your goal -— fight -— and success you will find.
THE FLASHY TIE
That’s so doggone loud it puts out your eye;
Yes, sir, that tie’s a funny thing—
It even starts your ears to ring.
The color is a funny blue,
All splashed with red and orange, too.
And then, instead of black and white, you see.
Are spots of green that’s weird to me.
And yet, that guy’s as proud’s a bear,
And wears that tie most everywhere;
No matter what you say to him,
He turns around with a big, broad grin —
And he says to you: "If you chance to buy,
Go out and get a real good tie.
" And then I says to him, says I,
"If I go out to buy a tie
I’ll get one of a modest type,
And not a tie that’s quite so ripe.
" Now the moral to this, my friend, you see,
Is that bright colors 'don’t make nobility.
So don’t be fooled by outward look,
Just read their thoughts like an open book;
For then you’ll know you can’t deny
That this new friend’s not a flashy tie.
A LITTLE BLACK SHOE
With hinges that are all sort of reddened with rust,
There’s a little black shoe in a corner there,
And that little black shoe was once one of a pair.
Yes, long, long ago that little black shoe
Was worn by a lad who was just about two.
Now that little wee lad was a brother to me,
One of the twins that came to the family.
He was smart and as bright as ever you see,
This cute little, sweet little brother to me.
But just about the age of two,
God sent the angels a-peepin’ through,
And they took that sweet little brother of mine,
And carried him up to a place that’s divine;
And I can remember those long years ago
Just how sad Mother looked, you know.
She took up that shoe sort o’ tenderly,
An’ she kissed it, and wonderfully looked at me.
There, were tears in her eyes as she held that shoe,
And they ran down on her cheek and her apron, too.
Then she carried that shoe to the attic up high,
And she looked like a saint from out of the sky;
She put that wee shoe right under the shelf,
'Way down in the corner all by itself.
Then closing the door, she whispered, "You see,
God took him away, but He left you to me.
" And even tho’ long years have passed, my friend,
The tale of that shoe will never end.
It’s still in the trunk in the attic up there,
The trunk that sets near the old’, broken chair;
And once in a while my mother will say,
"I think I’ll go up to the attic today."
And then up she goes and sits in the old, broken chair,
Right side of the trunk in the attic up there.
And she lifts that little black shoe,
And kisses it sometimes, and looks at it, too.
And after a while, Peace comes up there
To my mother a-sittin’ in that old, broken chair.
Then back goes the shoe to that old trunk all covered with dust,
And the hinges creak that are reddened with rust.
And then Mom smiles and she says to me,
"God knows best, Son, and He left you to me.
Then, besides, my son, He left me too,
A bit of him -— A little black shoe."
To the poor, to the rich, to beggar and king.
Life is not merely the living, my friend,
It’s the way you live your life to the end.
Life may be gay or Life may be sad —
It’s all in the way that you live it, my lad;
Life, if you live, and not just exist,
Is just grand when you’ve learned how to give it a twist -
Life may take you right up to the clouds,
Or dress you In black, suggestive of shrouds;
Life is not master. Remember that, friend,
Make life your way, then live to its end.
Life’s fate may strike you a terrible blow.
Stop short your progress and make you move slow;
Life’s signal of red -— you’ve seen it out there,
You stop for a moment, in dire despair.
Life’s green light you’ll get if you wait for awhile;
Then onward and upward, once more you may smile.
Life may discourage you, sometimes, I say
But try hard to live. Yes, live every day.
TWILIGHTAs twilight falls o’er all the land,
And darkness over all’s at hand,
When all is quiet, all is still,
And sun has gone o’er yonder hill —
It makes us think of beauties rare,
Of love and goodness everywhere;
It makes us dream and think a lot
And wander to a lonely spot.
It makes us think of things so fine,
This twilight really makes us pine;
And as we pine in afterglow
We think of loved ones that we know,
And long somehow to see again,
The folks we love down in the lane;
And then as twilight changes into night
The longing grows to greater height —
The feeling’s sad that comes just now
As twilight falls o’er us somehow,
Yet, my friends, most all will say
That twilight’s loveliest time of day.
GOD’S GARDENERFlowers sweet, and flowers rare,
Blossoms and perfume now fill the air;
A lovely spot, like blooming spring of old,
Though all around is frost and cold.
Yes in this dream house made of glass,
There’s gorgeous rose and greenest grass —
Easter lilies bursting here in bloom;
Easter fragrance fills the room.
Then, there are geraniums firm and strong,
Their leaves so green, their stems so long;
Yet from a tiny seed this plant has grown —
Another of God’s great wonders shown.
Then there are cactus plants, begonias, too,
Coleus, fuchsias, and ferns of greenest hue;
Yes, God’s wonders all -— yet loved by man,
And here we find a willing hand.
The hand of one who loves God’s flowers,
Working and toiling through tedious hours.
Until it seems to us who see
That he is an artist who paints for Thee.
Not with a brush and finest oils,
But with God’s seed and richest soils.
Yes, the place is a hothouse where the flowers grow.
The best of these for the flower Show.
Yes, there in that house all made of glass
I saw the work of man’s great task,
Nursing these flowers as a mother her child
Until they were grown so lovely and mild.
Yet back of all this, and greater than all
Was how the sun on the flowers could fall.
God’s wonders again brought, to view
In the flowers, the sun, the grass and the dew.
THE LITTLE OLD CHAPEL BY THE ROAD TO THE SEAThere’s a little old chapel by the side of the road
A place that to us is our Saviour’s abode.
It’s not just a church, a building, or place,
But a spot where we see the Christ’s shining face.
You feel as you enter its great swinging portal
That you’re dwelling with saints 'mongst souls immortal;
The old stained windows lend quiet and charm
And you know you’re away from all danger and harm.
Don’t feel that the church from the West to the East
Was made for minister, rector, or priest;
'Twas made for us sinners, for you and for me,
Not just a place for the good folks to be.
Nor yet is this Chapel a place just to preach,
Or a spot where you go to hear a great speech;
But keep this in mind though you may think it odd,
Go into your church to commune there with God.
So sometimes, my friend, in the season of Lent
Go into a chapel where Jesus was sent —
Go alone to kneel down and to pray,
Don’t try to think of nice things to say.
Just speak from your heart to Him up on high
Then think for a-while how Jesus did die.
On a cross 'tween two thieves He hung there for you,
In agony whispered. "Father, forgive, they know not what they do."
It’s a wonderful place, this church by the road,
This chapel that men built in memory of God;
Take time to go there in this world’s crazy rush,
To be with His spirit, to know of its hush.
Look at the chalice, the pulpit and pews,
Think for a-while and you’ll have different views;
Fray for a-while and your soul will be free
In that little old Chapel by the road to the sea.
DID YOU EVER THINKDid you ever think as you strolled along
'Bout whistlin’ a tune or singing a song?
Did you ever think of smiling, too,
About smiling at all who look at you?
Did you ever think of a cheery word
'Bout nice things you’ve overheard?
Did you ever think of the sea of blue,
'Bout all its shores and its billows, too?
Did you ever think of ships that pass,
'Bout their white sails and shining masts?
Did you ever think of the sky at night,
'Bout shining stars that shed their light?
Did you ever think of the bright sunshine,
'Bout all the joys of life that are thine?
Did you ever think while children play
'Bout how happy they seem, and gay?
Did you ever think of their tiny feet,
'Bout little hearts that always beat?
Did you ever think as you hear 'em cry,
'Bout the tears that come to each one’s eye?
Did you ever think through life’s they go,
'Bout joys and sorrows they’re going to know?
Did you ever think of life at best
'Bout leaving sorrows to the rest?
Did you ever think of rain and snow
'Bout how they help the flowers grow?
Did you ever think of a helping hand,
'Bout lending it to all the land?
Did you ever think what forests be,
'Bout how the Lord has made a tree?
Did you ever think all this, my son,
'Bout when-at last your life is done?
Did you ever think?
ON THE WAY HOMEI’m on my way home alone tonight,
I’m tired, and long for a welcome sight;
I long for home and loved ones dear,
I long for rest and quiet cheer.
There are two little scamps who wait for me,
And the sweetest woman there ever could be.
The boy is Wayne and the girl is June.
I’m certainly glad I’ll be with them soon.
Their mother would wait for me all her life,
'Cause she’s my own, my sweet young wife.
Are you like me, my man of the world,
After all is done and your heart’s unfurled.
Are you like me, and love your home,
And do you call it your castle’s dome?
No man e’er lived who loved it more,
No place more lovely since days of yore.
Why shouldn’t I feel just like I do,
Why shouldn’t I feel even better than you?
For I’m going home, not just to a place,
But where there are smiles on each sweet face.
What more can any man ask than this,
Children’s arms, love, and a wife’s sweet kiss?
Children’s eyes and their voices too,
And a wife to hold so close to you.
SNOWI stood alone, one quiet night,
Stood and watched a mystic sight;
Silence superb was all around
Silence that made the world profound.
In wonder I gazed at the falling snow;
Walling down from Heaven to earth below.
And I puzzled, as awestruck I gazed about,
How patterns so different could be cut out.
Now slowly covering all the land,
A blanket of white o’er field and sand.
Until all around it seemed to me,
That all was white, —- earth, stream and tree.
It seemed to me then that God, reaching down
With nail-scarred hand, had sprinkled around
This beautiful cover, so clear and so white,
Making a blanket before my sight.
Then tenderly, lovingly, over the land
He spread this blanket, with nail-scarred hand,
Until He had covered His earth and His flowers,
Keeping them safe through winter’s long hours.
Then I thought as I stood, that silent night,
"If He changes the black of the earth to white
Surely no miracle, how great or small,
Is too great for this Master, the Saviour of all."
As He sprinkled the snow on the earth that night
Purifying the ground by making it white,
So He looks down on the blackest of men
Touches and cleanses, blesses them then.
So, my friends, if you feel alone and afraid,
Just think of the change with the snow that was made;
Ask Him who sprinkled the snow flakes so white
To sprinkle some snow on your soul tonight.
I MAY BE BLINDI may be blind and my eyes not see
But I look with my heart, and know of Thee.
I may be blind in the way that you say,
But I see you, my friend, more clearly than day.
I see through my ears as I hear you speak —
I know if you’re strong, or whether you’re weak.
I’m blessed with the things you never can know.
I see through my nostrils the flowers that grow.
I can tell by its fragrance the rose from the grass,
I can see, yes, the breezes that so gently pass;
Don’t pity me, friend, I’ve more blessings than you.
I can see with my touch God’s rain and His dew.
Yes, each of my fingers is an all-seeing eye,
Showing the things that you may pass by;
My ears see the children as I hear them at play,
My heart feels no sorrow that you know today.
Yes, blind I may be, if you’re speaking of sight,
Yet God showed me plainly the wrong from the right:
Is it better to see with the eye or the heart?’
I’m blind, yet I see, through my hearing, the arts.
The voice of a singer is something I love,
Though paintings are kept till I’m carried above.
I see. I’m not blind, though all may be dark —
I see with my ears, with my touch, and my heart.
PASSING YEARSMany, many years ago today
Two hearts found love the same old way —
Love that has lasted through the years,
Has kept life sacred and quelled its fears.
Children have come and gone away,
They’ve heard their voices, and seen them play.
'Til now, with hair as white as snow,
With footsteps’ tread becoming slow.
They’re looking back across the years,
Seeing laughter; love; life’s joys and tears.
He holds her soft, yet wrinkled hand,
Still sees her fairest in the land.
He whispers, "Sweetheart, life’s been kind
I’ve kept you always in my mind."
While she, with twinkling eyes still bright,
Looks through the mist of coming night.
Then turns her head and old eyes meet,
Thank God for years so true and sweet;
For faith that’s led us all the way
'Til this —- our Golden Wedding Day.
LIFE’S HIGHWAYHave you ever felt, as you traveled life’s way,
That you just couldn’t last, not one more day?
Have you ever felt that you couldn’t go on,
So tired and hopeless and really forlorn?
You’ve worked and kept going with all your heart,
And yet, you don’t seem to have made a start.
Have you worked for years with one thing in minds
Only to find you’ve been left far behind?
Have you kept your eye on one single goal,
Fighting so long without help from a soul?
And then, all at once, you feel that it’s past;
You know you must hurry, that time’s fleeting fast.
So you dig in once more and force on a grin,
But again you are back at the place you begin.
I know how you feel, though you may not think so:
I’ve fought; been licked, and gone down with the blow.
But let me say, friend, if you feel this way tonight,
Just say to yourself "I’m just starting to fight,"
Though you’re flat on your back, knocked there by fate,
Get up and keep going before it’s too late.
It’s not the winning, your reaching the crest,
It’s the striving to reach it that makes life the best;
So keep right on working and forcing a smile,
And you’ll find at its close that life is worth while.
AUNT MARCIA YORK
A lovely girl in blooming youth
A family girl who loved forsooth.
One of a family that numbered fourteen
Sharp-eyed youngsters, bright and keen.
Marcia Godfrey was pretty and smart.
Clever with needle, and kind at heart.
About her lovely form and face
Was a tender sweetnees, a lithesome grace.
Then came to her the boy of her heart
And they planned together their life to start,
Marcia York became her name-
She left her home for love's sweet game.
The old house where the family was born
The house in the lane now seemed forlorn.
But to her life was one great thrill
In the house she now lived in upon the hill.
Children soon came to Marcia and John.
Given in number, all stalwart and strong.
Four of them girls, the other three boys,
Bringing to Marcia the greatest of joys.
She lived and worked and watched then grow,
Teaching and scolding and helping them so,
Until the day came they all left their home
Seeking their fortune or elsewhere to roam.
Then came real sadness, when John went away
To wait for his loved one in Heaven they say.
All seemed to have gone from her life for a while,
But gradually time healed and brought back that smile.
Interest in life she had found once more
With her patchwork and rugs to be hooked for the floor.
Though some folks may think that she has crown old
Time has but made her far purer than cold.
Like the rose when it bud e, she reef lovely when young
Sweet as perfume from the roses that sprung.
But again like the rose as time carries on
The beauties increases in her life's fading dawn.
The flower, the rose as it blossoms and blooms
Becomes more lovely, with sweeter perfume.
Until when the petals are ready to fall
She, like the rose, becomes fairest of all.