How Did you Die?

Did you tackle that trouble that came your way,
With 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 were beaten to earth? Well, well, what’s that?
Come up again with a smiling face.
It’s nothing against you to fall down flat,
But to lie there – that’s the disgrace.
The harder you’re thrown, why the higher you bounce;
Be proud of the blackened eye!
It isn’t the fact that you’re licked that counts,
It’s how did your 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 your dead that counts,
But only how did you die?
-Edmund Vance Cooke

1 Comment

  • Julie Barstow says:

    This most is probably the most inspirational poems I have EVER read. I Love It. Edmund Vance Cooke never got nearly as much credit as he should have.

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