“Guilty or Not Guilty”

Reminded again, today, of age old ‘arguments’ and all, regarding hunger, poverty, crime….

I searched to find a ‘share’ of work already done by another – not to be had, in the form displayed in my copyright 1936 book, “Best Loved Poems of the American People” which, right or wrong, was THE book of poetry I grew up with!

Not satisfied to simply share it on other social media fronts?

I am posting it here, too –

In both the book and the one online version I found that has same text as the as the book?

Author is listed as “Unknown” –

*Featured Image from OpenClipart.org, courtesy of Pixabay contributor – from iconic Dorothea Lange photo captured during the Great Depression, in USA.

Guilty or Not Guilty?

She stood at the bar of justice,
A creature wan and wild,
In form too small for a woman,
In feature too old for a child.
For a look so worn and pathetic
Was stamped on her pale young face,
It seemed long years of suffering
Must have left that silent trace.

"Your name," said the judge, as he eyed her
With kindly look, yet keen,"Is—?" 
"Mary McGuire, if you please, sir."
"And your age?" "I am turned fifteen."
"Well, Mary—" And then from a paper
He slowly and gravely read,
"You are charged here—I am sorry to say it—
With stealing three loaves of bread.

"You look not like an offender,
And I hope that you can show
The charge to be false. 
Now, tell me, Are you guilty of this, or no?"
A passionate burst of weeping
Was at first her sole reply;
But she dried her tears in a moment,
And looked in the judge's eye.

"I will tell you just how it was, sir;
My father and mother are dead,
And my little brothers and sisters
Were hungry, and asked me for bread.
At first I earned it for them
By working hard all day,
But somehow the times were hard, sir,
And the work all fell away."

"I could get no more employment;
The weather was bitter cold;
The young ones cried and shivered
(Little Johnny is but four years old)
So what was I to do, sir?
I am guilty, but do not condemn;
I took - oh, was it stealing? - 
The bread to give to them.”

Every man in the court-room—
Graybeard and thoughtless youth—
Knew, as he looked upon her,
That the prisoner spake the truth.
Out from their pockets came kerchiefs,
Out from their eyes sprang tears,
And out from the old faded wallets
Treasures hoarded for years.

The judge's face was a study,
The strangest you ever saw,
As he cleared his throat and murmured
Something about the law.
For one so learned in such matters,
So wise in dealing with men,
He seemed on a simple question
Sorely puzzled just then.

But no one blamed him, or wondered,
When at last these words they heard,
"The sentence of this young prisoner
Is for the present deferred."
And no one blamed him, or wondered,
When he went to her and smiled,
And tenderly led from the court-room,
Himself, the "guilty" child.

Odes to the Country Doctor

Dedicated to Dr. H.J. Scarinzi (1932-2015)- The Doctor who was my country doctor, for awhile. I miss you still, no matter where I roam, how much time passes, or how things around me change.

Today? You are strong on my mind, wondering just what you would have to say, regarding the current challenges and conversations and systems in place….

Shared below, are two poems written by William McKendree Carleton, (1845 or 1847 to 1912).

Featured image courtesy of Wikisource – Thank you!

**Note – Wikipedia and the 1974 edition of The American Peoples encyclopedia set, says “1845”. Michigan Library website says “1847” – thus, I’m conflicted on who to believe – The old encylopedia set or a librarian…..

IF you need some holiday, to look forward to, in October? Whether it has been repealed in law or not? You can always declare Thursday, October 21, 2021, YOUR holiday, and enjoy a long weekend of rest and healing, in honor of this Poet.

Just a suggestion – in case you’re struggling to find for a reason to take a long weekend….rest and heal…. 😀

The Doctor’s Story

Good folks ever will have their way
Good folks ever for it must pay.

But we, who are here and everywhere,
The burden of their faults must bear.

We must shoulder others’ shame,
Fight their follies, and take their blame:

Purge the body, and humor the mind;
Doctor the eyes when the soul is blind;

Build the column of health erect
On the quicksands of neglect:

Always shouldering others’ shame-
Bearing their faults and taking the blame!

Deacon Rogers, he came to me;
“Wife is a-goin’ to die,” said he.

‘Doctors great, an’ doctors small,
Haven’t improved her any at all.

‘Physic and blister, powders and pills,
And nothing sure but the doctors’ bills!

“Twenty women, with remedies new,
Bother my wife the whole day through.

‘Sweet as honey, or bitter as gall
Poor old woman, she takes ’em all.

‘Sour or sweet, whatever they choose;
Poor old woman, she daren’t refuse.

‘So she pleases whoe’er may call,
An’ Death is suited the best of all.

‘Physic and blister, powder an’ pill
Bound to conquer, and sure to kill!”

Mrs. Rogers lay in her bed,
Bandaged and blistered from foot to head.

Blistered and bandaged from head to toe,
Mrs. Rogers was very low.

Bottle and saucer, spoon and cup,
On the table stood bravely up;

Physics of high and low degree;
Calomel, catnip, boneset tea;

Everything a body could bear,
Excepting light and water and air.

I opened the blinds; the day was bright,
And God gave Mrs. Rogers some light.

I opened the window; the day was fair,
And God gave Mrs. Rogers some air.

Bottles and blisters, powders and pills,
Catnip, boneset, sirups and squills;

Drugs and medicines, high and low,
I threw them as far as I could throw.

“What are you doing?” my patient cried;
“Frightening Death,” I coolly replied.

“You are crazy!” a visitor said:
I flung a bottle at his head.

Deacon Rogers he came to me,
‘Wife is a-gettin’ her health,” said he.

“I really think she will worry through;
She scolds me just as she used to do.

‘All the people have poohed an’ slurred,
All the neighbors have had their word;

“‘Twere better to perish, some of ’em say,
Than be cured in such an irregular way.”

“Your wife,” said I, “had God’s good care,
And His remedies, light and water and air.

“All of the doctors, beyond a doubt,
Couldn’t have cured Mrs. Rogers without.’

Tle deacon smiled and bowed his head;
Then your bill is nothing,” he said.

“God’s be the glory, as you sayl
God bless you, Doctor! Good day! Good day!”

If ever I doctor that woman again,
I’ll give her medicine made by men.

by William K. Carleton

The Country Doctor

There’s a gathering in the village, that has never been outdone
Since the soldiers took their muskets to the war of ’61,
And a lot of lumber wagons near the church upon the hill,
And a crowd of country people, Sunday dressed and very still.
Now each window is preempted by a dozen heads or more,
Now the spacious pews are crowded from the pulpit to the door;
For with coverlet of blackness on his portly figure spread,
Lies the grim old country doctor, in a massive oaken bed,

Lies the fierce old country doctor,
Lies the kind old country doctor,

Whom the populace considered with a mingled love and dread.

Maybe half the congregation, now of great or little worth,
Found this watcher waiting for them, when they came upon the earth;
This undecorated soldier, of a hard, unequal strife,
Fought in many stubborn battles with the foes that sought their life.
In the nighttime or the daytime, he would rally brave and well,
Though the summer lark was fifing or the frozen lances fell;
Knowing, if he won the battle, they would praise their Maker’s name,
Knowing, if he lost the battle, then the doctor was to blame.

‘Twas the brave old virtuous doctor,
‘Twas the good old faulty doctor,

‘Twas the faithful country doctor-fighting stoutly all the same.

When so many pined in sickness he had stood so strongly by,
Half the people felt a notion that the doctor couldn’t die;
They must slowly learn the lesson how to live from day to day,
And have somehow lost their bearings-now this landmark is away.
But perhaps it still is better that his busy life is done;
He has seen old views and patients disappearing, one by one;
He has learned that Death is master both of science and of art;
He has done his duty fairly and has acted out his part.

And the strong old country doctor,
And the weak old country doctor.

by Will K. Carleton

** Note! No one in their right mind would ever believe the country Doc of my youth/young adulthood, was weak.

Hard as Nails, Blunt as a chisel, Harsh as a winter wind when needs dictated it –

All while as soft as a sleeping child’s sigh, gentle hands that soothed the ill and a brusque voice, that still for all it’s delivered ‘just the facts’ and not always embraced observations, would deliver the gently said, “This isn’t going to be fun, but this is what must be done, for you to get well. So bear up and do what needs to be done…”

OH! How very much I miss him!

It’s Simple- Not Easy

Part …um….. a gazillion?


So much of my life/encounters with others, fall into this category –

“Why yes, that’s simple to fix, just do this/that!”

And yet, none of it is easy –

Not even telling your own story – doing your own work – connecting with others through shared passions, but not necessarily, the same way of looking at things the same way….

To me?

Very little of ANYTHING in traversing the modern world, is easy

Unless, overall, one has resources to spare, closes oneself off to anything that doesn’t EXACTLY match up with their aspirations and viewpoints…

The More One Explores to Broaden Horizons?

The more misinterprations that can happen – the more one opens up to being vulnerable, to ridicule, to attack.

Don’t we all wish at one time or another, to BE:

  • The strong, silent type
  • The lone wolf, self-made, don’t need nobody or nothing but myself personage
  • The bridge builder
  • The social butterfly
  • The one who can always say the right thing, at just the right moment
  • All while, we pick/choose what to pursue, but still feel ‘true to ourselves’ while pursuing

Oh, don’t we all just ‘wish’??

“If wishes were horses, we’d all ride,

If wishes were fishes, we’d have some fried”

Multiple ‘atributions’ and links to versions of this, NONE of which match what I was raised with, so, nope, no author, no link – have fun with that Search on the first line – and seeing what pops up in results! 😀

Simply Put? Life Changes, Always

  • Every interaction or time we open ourselves up to learn, connect, survive? we each change
  • Our environment changes – through long cycles, self-regulation of Mother Earth, in response to our human actions
  • Leaders change – through election, death, learning more, or because the latest popularity poll indicates a problem and they wish to stay in power
  • Systems around us change – sometimes they grow to get better, or grow too fast, or grow too slow, go out of business, become the fox in the hen house or strive to be the guard dog in the henhouse who also is hunting the chickens, eating eggs, on the sly –
  • The social mores and social justice movements and laws and interpretations or insights from religious, political, experts, self-proclaimed leaders, ALL change –

I Struggle with Change on Some Fronts

How about you?

I worry about changes made by the world around me, that appear, to me, as a ‘slippery slope’ to slide down…

Basically? Some changes announced on personal/wider fronts, DOES, to me, on many levels, ‘trigger’ my initial response of:

“Okey-Dokey then – everyone agreed we are gung-ho about collectively building the Highway to Hell infrastructure, here on earth?

My brain committee, often, when observing the world around me….or what I feel I’m being called to provide/do, in order for myself to survive –

But MY VERSION of Hell on Earth is not the same, I don’t believe, as many who hear me say such things.

Thus, the moment I mumur, “Highway to Hell building time, eh?”

The response from others is rather mixed, dependent upon whether they are devout, which faith they are devout to, and whether or not they are an AC/DC, Rock music fan…:D

Response depends upon whether the person I’m saying it too, has an ego-centric or human centric view of the entire Universe, or not…

It depends upon what stage of their life span they are in…

Whether they are dying, living, or haven’t yet sat beside Death for a conversation…

It depends also upon the history of the area they were raised in, their family/early life history, their education opportunities, their self-learning motivations, their ease in navigating/searching for and embracing/turning away from a variety of online media fronts, published works, etc.

And yet?

For myself? The ONLY way I can ‘hold on’ when stuff changes – is to remember the lines in various works that have touched my soul, so deeply and profoundly, that I return to them over and over.

The works that seem to, year by year, as I change, experience by experience, and I live through –

The works that appear to change, become richer and deeper in meaning – but do not, for me, change ever in wording/meaning or translations.

They just unfurl more of themselves, when I CHANGE!

I return to my faves, for comfort, and often find, more breadcrumbs/layers for me to explore, every time I revisit those works.

In the end?

Many works do I re-visit, as things change, as I change, as I learn more, as they speak to me more, but, overall?

The ONE work that speaks to me, that doesn’t change, no matter how much I change, the world about me changes, those around me change –

The work that doesn’t seem to have a great following of, or any organization built around it, and therefore, vulnerable to all kinds of silly translations/’what is the meaning of…” posts/theories/hypothesis?

I still, can sink into the comfort, the overall advice, reminders and well – no matter what is going on, this text changes in it’s applicability to daily life, and all, but still, doesn’t change in the core message I hear – thus?

(Note** I recently searched to learn more about the history of Bobbie Gentry and her song “Ode to Billie Joe” – I COULDN’T believe all the story lines/hypothesis/’what does the song mean’ posts – so many of which were so very dark and put in a whole bunch of story lines, I have to wonder if that was even CLOSE to what she was thinking of, when she wrote the song –

It’ll take me MONTHS to recover from that Research to Learn More journey, that dived into the darkest sides of our nation’s collective history, wars, global history, and the evil that resides in mankind’s heart -! If someone can think of it, write about ‘what something else means’ and expound this type of stuff?? Oh, yeah, Evil walks on Earth – all the damn time, century after century – not getting away from it – I just question exactly, who/what is the creator such things – :D. So easy to blame Satan or God – instead of looking to ourselves…. )

Philosophy, at some point, frustrates me – sociology? Endlessly fascinating to me –

But, if I had to be stranded on an island, with only one written text, or one memorized verse – for the good, the bad, the ugly, the hard days, the blessed days?

That doesn’t require me to quit learning, quit improving myself, but holds the space for me to sit still and not change, for awhile? No matter how much of me changes?

A work that just doesn’t fall apart in words, or perspective etc., as the world created by human thinking marches on, after it was written?

Just One meets all the below needs of mine, all the time, ever more (thus far)

It’s message is held and referred to, intimated to or repeated in so many other works -works compiled/created both long before and long after its own creation…

  • Full enough to address core points
  • Short enough to, with practice, memorize
  • Rhymes and easy to call to mind specific lines or verses, without looking up, again, to ensure you got the original lines right
  • Written by a spiritual leader – with a murky early on ‘reported/touted provenance’ of the work – and who knows, for sure?

But for me, it’s easy to share, quickly, that for me? Sort of encapsulates the deep parts of me I strive for, fail at, but are my root focus, and introduces the ‘core of me’ today, to another – even while time spent with others trying to share who I am, how I see the topic at hand, WHILE also trying to understand, they may not have any frame of reference to put into context what I just shared – to my mind? ad nauseum…

Its so very easy to shrug off and think, “They don’t get me, so why bother?”

When communicating ideas is a struggle, without writing a 7-volume series reference manual of all the reasons, I feel such and such away, or what influenced me on feeling that way

Also, very easy for humans, including me! to sink into the comfort of only hanging out with folks who agree with us, or flatter us – so our life is ‘easier’.

But, in our diverse, advanced, world?

With all the challenges to be faced?

Being comfortable and at our ease every moment of the day, no matter what job we are tackling, bridge to build or our own ignorance to conquer?

Nothing is ever built/improved without effort and sacrifice – and the following poem, which I have shared before, I still believe,is possible for everyone who speaks/reads English, to hear/read, and find at LEAST one verse, they agree with –

But that’s just me and I could be wrong!

What say you?


GO PLACIDLY amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery.

But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.

Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.

But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.

Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be.

And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

By Max Ehrmann © 1927

Words of Another

This posted for all of my bloggy pals, here at WordPress land, but posted, mainly, to try, through another’s wordcrafting, for EvidenceMutumba, since, my long replies in comments still, to me, doesn’t fully say ‘it all’ and well –

I realized, I don’t think I’ve ever shared the post here and, though many may find fault with it, on various modern fronts? Still love the overall ideas and human nature and the Divine vision, wrapped within it.

The Touch of the Master’s Hand by Myra Brooks Welch

'Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer
      Thought it scarcely worth his while
To waste much time on the old violin,
      But held it up with a smile.
"What am I bidden, good folks," he cried,
    "Who'll start the bidding for me?"
"A dollar, a dollar. Then two! Only two?
      Two dollars, and who'll make it three?"

"Three dollars, once; three dollars, twice;
      Going for three…" But no,
From the room, far back, a grey-haired man
      Came forward and picked up the bow;
Then wiping the dust from the old violin,
      And tightening the loosened strings,
He played a melody pure and sweet,
      As a caroling angel sings.

The music ceased, and the auctioneer,
      With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said: "What am I bid for the old violin?"
      And he held it up with the bow.
"A thousand dollars, and who'll make it two?
      Two thousand! And who'll make it three?
Three thousand, once; three thousand, twice,
    And going and gone," said he.

The people cheered, but some of them cried,
    "We do not quite understand.
What changed its worth?" Swift came the reply:
    "The touch of the Master's hand."
And many a man with life out of tune,
      And battered and scarred with sin,
Is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd
      Much like the old violin.

A "mess of pottage," a glass of wine,
    A game — and he travels on.
He is "going" once, and "going" twice,
    He's "going" and almost "gone."
But the Master comes, and the foolish crowd
    Never can quite understand
The worth of a soul and the change that is wrought
    By the touch of the Master's hand.

According to allpoetry.com, here’s the back story, for those interested:

Myra Welch would say that she heard a speaker address a group of students on the power of God to bring out the best in people. She said she herself became filled with light and that “Touch of the Master’s Hand” was written in 30 minutes!.
The finished poem was sent anonymously to the editor of her local church news bulletin. She felt it was a gift from God and didn’t need her name on it.

Citation added on submission to allpoetry.com.

Ten Years…

I logged in to share two poems that have come BACK on my radar as I work through various relationship things or try to find a way to give another a window to look into of me –

I’m informed, by WP, that I’ve been blogging here for 10 years – it’s actually been 12 or more since I first discovered blogging, but when I started, it was writing blog articles for other folks – and once I wasn’t working for their site, well….what a boon to discover in 2010 that I could have me very own blog – to say what I wanted too – not what others needed for their goals, advertisers, etc…

Now that anniversary has been acknowledged, AND I took that ‘side trip’ down memory lane….

Here’s the two poems that have been in my mind/heart for the past week, for many and varied reasons –

The Man in the Mirror

When you get all you want and you struggle for self,
and the world makes you king for a day,
then go to the mirror and look at yourself
and see what that man has to say.

For it isn't your mother, your father or wife
whose judgment upon you must pass,
but the man, whose verdict counts most in your life
is the one staring back from the glass.

He's the fellow to please,
never mind all the rest.
For he's with you right to the end,
and you've passed your most difficult test
if the man in the glass is your friend.

You may be like Jack Horner and "chisel" a plum,
And think you're a wonderful guy,
But the man in the glass says you're only a bum
If you can't look him straight in the eye.

You can fool the whole world,
down the highway of years,
and take pats on the back as you pass.

But your final reward will be heartache and tears
if you've cheated the man in the glass.

By Dale Wimbrow

If –

If you can keep your head when all about you   

    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

    But make allowance for their doubting too;   

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,

    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;   

    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;   

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

    And treat those two impostors just the same;   

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken

    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings

    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings

    And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

    To serve your turn long after they are gone,   

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,   

    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

    If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,   

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,   

    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

By Rudyard Kipling

That’s it – my check in – in form of poetry shares – – I’m assessing so many things on so many levels just now – Life is just one big transition – over and over – and for now – I’m just in the process of ‘updating my stories’ but I am starting to see the path ahead – so that’s good news!

Hope this finds you and yours well.

Tamrah Jo

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