By Phoebe Cary
Suppose, my little lady,
Your doll should break her head,
Could you make it whole by crying
Till your eyes and nose are red?
And would n’t it be pleasanter
To treat it as a joke;
And say you ’re glad “’T was Dolly’s
And not your head that broke?”
Suppose you ’re dressed for walking,
And the rain comes pouring down,
Will it clear off any sooner
Because you scold and frown?
And would n’t it be nicer
For you to smile than pout,
And so make sunshine in the house
When there is none without?
Suppose your task, my little man,
Is very hard to get,
Will it make it any easier
For you to sit and fret?
And would n’t it be wiser
Than waiting like a dunce,
To go to work in earnest
And learn the thing at once?
Suppose that some boys have a horse,
And some a coach and pair,
Will it tire you less while walking
To say, “It is n’t fair?”
And would n’t it be nobler
To keep your temper sweet,
And in your heart be thankful
You can walk upon your feet?
And suppose the world don’t please you,
Nor the way some people do,
Do you think the whole creation
Will be altered just for you?
And is n’t it, my boy or girl,
The wisest, bravest plan,
Whatever comes, or does n’t come,
To do the best you can?
More By This Poet
He dwelt among “apartments let,”
About five stories high;
A man I thought that none would get,
And very few would try.
A boulder, by a larger stone
Half hidden in the mud,
Fair as a man when only one
Is in the neighborhood.
He lived unknown, and...
More Poems about Arts & Sciences
Listening in Deep Space
We've always been out looking for answers,
telling stories about ourselves,
searching for connection, choosing
to send out Stravinsky and whale song,
which, in translation, might very well be
our undoing instead of a welcome.
We launch satellites, probes, telescopes
unfolding like origami, navigating
geomagnetic storms, major disruptions.
Self-Portrait with Sylvia Plath’s Braid
Some women make a pilgrimage to visit it
in the Indiana library charged to keep it safe.
I didn’t drive to it; I dreamed it, the thick braid
roped over my hands, heavier than lead.
My own hair was long for years.
Then I became...
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A spring snow coincides with plum blossoms.
In a month, you will forget, then remember
when nine ravens perched in the elm sway in wind.
I will remember when I brake to a stop,
and a hubcap rolls through the intersection.
An angry man grinds...
At the Equinox
The tide ebbs and reveals orange and purple sea stars.
I have no theory of radiance,
but after rain evaporates
off pine needles, the needles glisten.
In the courtyard, we spot the rising shell of a moon,