Robert W. Service: Compassion

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Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Colossians 3:12

A beggar in the street I saw,
Who held a hand like withered claw,
As cold as clay;
But as I had no silver groat
To give, I buttoned up my coat
And turned away.

And then I watched a working wife
Who bore the bitter load of life
With lagging limb;
A penny from her purse she took,
And with sweet pity in her look
Gave it to him.

Anon I spied a shabby dame
Who fed six sparrows as they came
In famished flight;
She was so poor and frail and old,
Yet crumbs of her last crust she doled
With pure delight.

Then sudden in my heart was born
For my sleek self a savage scorn,–
Urge to atone;
So when a starving cur I saw
I bandaged up its bleeding paw
And bought a bone.

For God knows it is good to give;
We may not have so long to live,
So if we can,
Let’s do each day a kindly deed,
And stretch a hand to those in need,
Bird, beast or man.

“Compassion” by Robert W. Service.

Yesterday’s poem got me thinking about exploring poetry this week. God is nudging me to share compassion and kindness more generously this Summer, so I searched and found this gem.

I am visiting my parents, Jack and Patsy Hoag, in Florida this week because my mom is having heart trouble. My mom’s dad, Byron Drake Gregg, taught me to memorize poems from Robert W. Service so I went to his works.

This poem is powerful. “Let’s do each day a kindly deed, and stretch out a hand to those in need.” That phrase sums up my grandfather’s life and my mom too. God help her condition improve.

God make us all be generous and compassionate as we may not have so long to live and God knows that it is good to give in the days He has given us.