Douglas Malloch Famous Poems

Douglas Malloch was an American poet born in 1877 in Muskegon, Michigan. His poetry has inspired people of almost all ages across the world. His poem which has become the most popular. “Be The Best of Whatever You Are”. He passed away in 1938 but his poetry still dances in people’s hearts.

Be The Best of Whatever You Are

Poet: Douglas Malloch

Douglas Malloch Famous Poems

If you can’t be a pine on top of the hill
Be a scrub in the valley – but be
The best little scrub at the side of the rill.
Be a bush if you can’t be a tree.

If you can’t be a bush be a bit of grass
Some highway to happier make.
If you can’t be a muskie then just be a bass,
But the liveliest bass in the lake.

We can’t all be captains, we’ve got to have crew,
There’s something for all of us here.
There’s big work to do and there’s lesser work too
And the task we must do is near.

If you can’t be a highway, then just be a trail.
If you can’t be the sun be a star.
It isn’t by size that you win or you fail.
Be the best of whatever you are.


Poet: Douglas Malloch


Man, thrust upon the world, awakes from sleep.
Knowing not whence he came nor how nor why.
His earliest impulse is an infant cry.
His final privilege is that to weep.

A combatant although he sought no strife,
A guest unwelcome come unwillingly,
Given his vision that he may not see,
He names this unnamed paradox his life.

He learns to walk the forest and to love
Its green and brown, its song and season’s change,
Yet will not taste a berry that is strange
Or tread a pathway that he knows not of.

Skeptic and doubter of the flow’r and tree,
He questions this and that investigates –
Yet drinks the beaker offered by the fates
And leaves unsolved the greater mystery.



Poet: Douglas Malloch

Each man must leave to earth a legacy;
Embarking on the waves of mystery
Must leave some footprint by the unknown sea.

Some leave behind them shining piles of gold;
Some leave behind them lineage of old;
Some leave behind but granite gray and cold.

Some leave behind a blood-encrusted sword;
Some leave behind love’s broken, silken cord ;
Some leave behind a monarch’s wand and word.

What leavest thou in legacy or lore?
What leavest thou, to be remembered more?
What leavest thou here on the silent shore?

Not sword alone, for long thy sword was cold,
Ancestral name or heaps of shining gold.
But this, the story that thy genius told.

Now still thy lips, impotent now thy hand;
But men shall find thy footprint in the sand
And many things shall see and understand.

For men shall walk with Him of Nazareth;
For men shall breathe faith’s everlasting breath
And solve the mystery of life and death.

This is the treasure that thou leavest, then;
This is the legacy thou leavest men –
Long sheathed thy sword, but ever speaks thy pen.



Poet: Douglas Malloch

I slept last night as the wildwood’s guest
In the shade of an ancient tree,
I sank to rest on the verdured crest
Of a hill beside the sea;
And the waves sang low to me:

Sleep by the waters of the ocean old,
Lulled by the song of the deep,
For maids give smiles and men give gold
But the good God gives you sleep.
Yes, the good God gives you sleep.

I slept last night in the woodland wild
In the shade of an ancient yew;
On the forest child the forest smiled
With the love the infant knew;
And it sang the long night through:

Sleep ‘neath the branches of the forest tree
While the stars their watches keep ;
The rover’s home and the captive free
When the good God gives them sleep,
When the good God gives them sleep.

Long is the way that my feet must tread.
Weary and long the way.
The way is red where the feet have bled
That have walked in a bygone day;
But I hear the woodland say:

Sleep at the end of the tangled path.
Where your soul no more shall weep;
You sow but woe and you reap but wrath –
But the good God gives you sleep.
Yes, the good God gives you sleep.



Poet: Douglas Malloch

Here’s some of us has this world’s goods,
An’ some of us has none –
But all of us has got the woods.
An’ all has got the sun.
So, settin’ here upon the stoop.
This patch o’ pine beside,
I never care a single whoop –
Fer I am satisfied.

Now, take the pine on yonder hill:
It don’t belong to me;
The boss he owns the timber – still,
It’s there fer me to see.
An’, ‘twixt the ownin’ of the same
An’ smellin’ of its smell,
I’ve got the best of that there game.
An’ so I’m feelin’ well.

The boss in town unrolls a map
An’ proudly says, “It’s mine.”
But he don’t drink no maple sap
An’ he don’t smell no pine.
The boss in town he figgers lands
In quarter-sections red;
Lord! I just set with folded hands
An’ breathe ’em in instead.

The boss his forest wealth kin read
In cent an’ dollar sign;
His name is written in the deed –
But all his land is mine.
There’s some of us has this world’s goods,
An’ some of us has none –
But all of us has got the woods.
An’ all has got the sun!


Settin’ In The Sun

Poet: Douglas Malloch

I reckon the party who sets on a throne
Has a perfectly miser’ble time;
There always is someone a-pickin’ a bone
With a king or a monarch sublime.
Some calculate maybe that bein’ a king
Is a job that is gen’ally fun –
Well, well, it may be,
But the best thing, to me,
Is jest settin’ right here in the sun.

I reckon the party who sets in the chair.
In the President’s chair, an’ all that,
Must tote on his person consider’ble care
An’ a passel of woe in his hat.
Some calculate maybe it’s fun to be boss
Or even for office to run –
Well, that may be so.
But the best thing I know
Is jest settin’ right here in the sun.

I reckon the party who sets up on high
He may wish for a moment that’s calm.
It’s awful to set there an’ find by-an’-by
That you’ve done gone an’ set on a bomb.
I calculate, if they should blow up a king,
In spite of the good he has done,
Nary king he will be;
But me, as for me,
I’ll be settin’ right here in the sun.



Poet: Douglas Malloch

Some folks run to sunsets,
Some folks run to noon.
Some folks like the evenin’ best,
With its stars an’ moon.
Sunsets may be purty.
Noontime fair to see,
But the mornin’ I like most –
Sunrise time fer me!

Some folks like at twilight
Jest to set an’ dream
Of the day thet’s dyin’ there
In the sunset gleam.
What’s the use of cryin’
Fer the day’s mistakes? –
I’m jest lookin’ fer the time
When the sunrise breaks!

An’, if all the mornin’s.
All the days an’ years.
Bring me nothin’ thet I ask,
Bring me only tears –
When this life is over.
When my soul awakes,
I’ll be lookin’ to the east
Where the sunrise breaks!


To A Caged Bird

Poet: Douglas Malloch

Voice of the forest, tongue by which it speaks
The throbbing gladness of its vernal time,
No more, no more, your rising pinion seeks
The heights sublime.

Voice of the forest, once your gay wings beat
Against the mountain diademed with stars;
Now do men bid you sing a song as sweet
To prison bars.

Only a singer that they, passing, heard
And then desired, like book and pipe and bowl –
Knowing nor caring when they cage a bird
They cage a soul.


The Imitators

Poet: Douglas Malloch

We build our fronded temples high,
With arching roof and bended beam,
We rear our artificial sky
Where painted constellations gleam;
We praise the marble majesty
Our earthly artisans create —
Yet walk abroad and do not see
The heavens that we imitate.


The Basket Weaver

Poet: Douglas Malloch

No flashing loom is hers; no shuttle flies
To do the bidding of her hands and eyes.
No needle glides to designated place,
As weave her sisters overseas the lace.
Hers is a simpler workshop in the leaves;
This is a simpler pattern that she weaves,
Her woof the splinter of the forest tree,
The ash so white, the elm and hickory.
Her dyes the blood of marish weeds and bark
With tints as ruddy as her features dark –
These are her simple implements of toil,
The ready products of the woodland soil.

Yet who shall say her skill is aught the less
Than that of her who weaves the princess’ dress?
For generations women of her race
Have woven baskets in this quiet place,
And she who weaves beneath the ancient trees
Reveals the skill of toilsome centuries.

Into the basket weaves she more than wood –
For weaves she in the romance of her blood.
Yea, weaves she in the moonlight and the sun.
The westward’s burning rays when day is done,
The verdant tints of winter’s evergreen,
The lily’s whiteness and the willow’s sheen.
The regal purple of her honored chief.
The simple beauty of her God-belief.

So, through its time, the basket that she makes
Shall sing to me of brooks and sylvan lakes.
Shall sing the glory of the vanished Red,
Shall sing a requiem for peoples dead.
Shall sing of tree, of flower and of sod –
Shall sing of Nature and the place of God.


The Hills Ahead

by Douglas Malloch

The hills ahead look hard and steep and high
And often we behold them with a sigh;
But as we near them level grows the road,
We find on every slope, with every load,
The climb is not so steep, the top so far,
The hills ahead look harder than they are.

And so it is with troubles, though they see so great
That men complain and fear and hesitate,
Less difficult the journey than we dreamed,
It never proves as hard as once it seemed;
There never comes a hill, a task, a day,
But as we near it, easier the way.


A Father’s Prayer

by Douglas Malloch

God, you have given me a son:
Now help me make him worthy of
His father’s name, his father’s love;
Among companions, make him one
Both clean of heart and clean of speech;
Help me my son these things to teach.

God, you have given me a boy:
Now help me still my boy to rear;
Too kind to quarrel, brave to fear,
Too good for any sinful joy,
Or, if tempation prove too strong,
Too wise to follow folly long.

God, you a son have given me:
Help me to make my boy a man,
Help me to teach him all I can
Of honesty and decency –
Father of fathers, make me one,
A fit example for a son.



by Douglas Malloch

The time is coming when the leaves
Shall put away their garb of green
And don the strange, fantastic weaves
That color all the autumn scene.

The crimson gleam and glow of gold,
The regal tints of ancient Tyre,
The form of summer shall enfold
And set the woodland ways afire.

And where the winter’s snow shall lie.
And where the wind shall whistle shrill,
The vale shall bum with autumn’s dye.
And autumn’s splendor light the hill.

The summer laughs at winter’s breath
That comes to lure her soul to rest.
And summer hurries forth to death
In all her gayest garments dressed.

When Death shall come to me, I pray
Ye garb me in my gayest gown –
And I will meet him blithe and gay.
And I will laugh away his frown.


It’s A Mighty Good World To Me

by Douglas Malloch

I’ve heard folks sigh, I’ve heard folks cry
That life’s not worth the while,
That men deceive and women grieve,
And none has cause to smile.
The road is long, and things go wrong.
And folks all disagree;
In vain our dreams – and yet it seems
A mighty good world to me.

Yes, folks complain that life is pain,
That naught is good or pure,
The bad succeed, the wealthy bleed
The pockets of the poor.
We weep, we sleep, and thus we keep
The treadmill endlessly,
A way of tears – yet it appears
A mighty good world to me.

Oh, there are those who tell their woes
To ev’ry willing ear;
To such as they all skies are gray
And ev’ry path is drear.
I sometimes think perhaps they drink
The bitter needlessly;
Despite their groans, despite their moans,
It’s a mighty good world to me.

If life is fair or life is bare
Upon ourselves depends;
He who complains has but his pain –
The merry man has friends.
Oh, look above with eyes of love
And see the skies of blue
Where sunrays gleam, and it will seem
A mighty good world to you.


The Upward Trail

Poet: Douglas Malloch

Out in the dark wood all alone,
My only candle light a star,
I git to thinkin’ of the things
Above the curtain blue an’ far.
They say thet heaven is up there,
Thet there the great white angels sing;
I wonder if that misty cloud
Is not, perhaps, an angel’s wing?
They say the gates are made of pearl.
They say the streets are paved with gold
And thet there ain’t no night at all.
No winter wind, no rain er cold.

Sometimes I think I’d like to go
A-lookin’ through that land so fair;
I wonder if they ever let
A timber cruiser in up there?
I guess a mackinaw won’t do
Alongside of them angel suits;
Suppose a man’d dare to walk
On golden streets in cowhide boots?
The songs the shanty fellahs sing
On Sunday nights, when pipes are low.
Won’t do up there at all, an’ them’s
The only kind bf songs I know.

But I have heard some preacher tell.
Who’d seen it in a big black book,
That once there was a Cruiser who
From earth to heaven made a look.
This Cruiser, so the preacher said,
Was estimatin’ for us all —
For timber cruisers jest as much
As some rich fellah in St. Paul.
“Believe in God, believe in men, be square,’
This preacher used to say,
“An’ you will find the trail — for One
Has gone ahead an’ blazed the way.”


You Have To Believe

by Douglas Malloch

You have to believe in happiness,
Or happiness never comes.
I know that a bird chirps none the less
When all that he finds is crumbs.
You have to believe the buds will blow, –
Believe in the grass in the days of snow;
Ah, that’s the reason a bird can sing –
On his darkest day he believes in Spring.

You have to believe in happiness –
It isn’t an outward thing.
The Spring never makes the song, I guess,
As much as the song the Spring.
Aye, many a heart could find content
If it saw the joy on the road it went,
The joy ahead when it had to grieve,
For the joy is there – but you have to believe.


In An Open Place

by Douglas Malloch

I step from out the forest vast
My feet have wandered through;
I leave the forest of the Past
To greet a forest new.
A year ago like this I stood
Before untrodden ways
And plunged, as now, within a wood –
A wilderness of days.

A year ago a year new born
Stretched out before my feet;
Then not a rose concealed a thorn
And ev’ry fruit was sweet.
But, as I walked, the sky grew gray
And tangled grew the road;
Then lonely was the forest way
And heavy was the load.

As thus the year, once new, grew less,
Perplexing grew the wood;
I knew not if to onward press
Or linger where I stood.
New hurts and wrongs my path made dear,
Old wounds were opened wide;
And none there was my heart to cheer
And none to walk beside.

Now comes the New Year, as it came
Before with hope aglow;
The way that beckons is the same
That called a year ago.
I thank Thee, Lord, that, spite of pain
And slur and cold offense,
I thank Thee, Lord, that, spite of rain
And past experience.

The New Year ever looks as fair
As if all life were new;
The world behind is bleak and bare –
The sky before is blue.
I thank Thee, Lord, the New Year brings
A balm for hurt and pain;
With feet that run and heart that sings
I journey on again.


Children Of The Spring

Poet: Douglas Malloch

What means the Spring to you? –
The tree, the bloom, the grass;
Wide fields to wander through;
A primrose path to pass;
Bright sun, and skies of blue;

The songs of singing streams;
The rippling riverside
Awakening from dreams;
Fair-browed and azure-eyed –
Oh, thus the Springtime seems.

Yet not for such as you
She comes with song and voice,
‘Tis not for such as you
She makes the heart rejoice.
She comes with skies of blue.

Spring’s children are the ill –
‘Tis these she comes to cheer;
Upon the window-sill.
Within the chamber drear.
She sits her song to trill.

On narrow cots they lie
Within the quiet room,
Their sky a square of sky
Cut from the inner gloom,
From dreary walls and high.

Spring means so much to these,
The prisoners abed! –
The perfume of the breeze.
The birdsong overhead.
The echoed melodies.

The window open wide –
Behold, the Spring is here!
No more the countryside
Is dim and dark and drear;
Now stronger runs the tide.

The pale and patient wife,
Her babe upon her breast.
Forgets the night, the knife.
And sleeps the sleep of rest.
Awakening to life.

The old, the very old.
Behold in budding Spring
Another year unfold –
And life, a tinsel thing.
Is turned again to gold.

And e’en the empty cot,
Whose Spring has come too late.
The one who now is not,
The one who could not wait.
The Spring has not forgot.

For, see! the Springtime stands
Our drooping eyes to raise
To fair and shining strands;
The Springtime comes and lays
A lily in his hands.



by Douglas Malloch

I hold him dearest who aspires
To kindle in my heart the fires
Of best desires.

I hold the man of all most dear
Who, when I stumble, draweth near
With word of cheer.

I hold that man of best intents
Who giveth me not paltry pence,
But confidence.

For there are men who quick caress
Will give to laurel-crowned success –
To nothing less.

But, oh, how dearer far are they
Who help me on the upward way
When skies are gray.

If so it be that I attain
The mountain peak, and leave the plain
And paths of pain,

My prayers shall first be upward sent
For those dear friends of mine who lent


Someone To Care

by Douglas Malloch

The greatest gift that is given to man
Is someone to care;
When you hope and dream, when you work and plan,
Someone to care;
Someone to care when the day is long,
Someone to care when you’re glad with song-
When the world goes right, when the world goes wrong,
Someone to care.

You can seek the top of the highest hill
With someone to care;
You can see the good, you can bear the ill
With someone to care.
The dark may come or the gale may sting
But, what the day or the night may bring,
You still are blessed with a sweeter thing –
Someone to care.

For never a loss will seem a loss,
With someone to care;
And never a cross will seem a cross,
With someone to care;
Someone to care when your heart is glad –
The ones who won were the ones who had
Someone to care.

We need not gold if we have but this
Someone to care;
We shall have our joy though the goal we miss,
With someone to care.
If there be but one with a faith that’s true,
If there be but one who believes in you,
That love will lift and will bring you through-
Someone to care.

For what is the use of it all without
Someone to care?
When you’re filled with hope or are dark with doubt
Someone to care?
What is the good, of it all unless
There’s someone to share your happiness,
Someone to care when you win success,
Someone to care!


The Gliders

by Douglas Malloch

It is often declared by the poets long-haired
Thet life is a stream we are ridin’,
Thet to some port below thet no man seems to know
Us fellahs are gradjully glidin’.
Some people I’ve spied who seem real glad to glide
An’ never will rustle a paddle,
Who float down the stream in a kind of a dream
An’ are satisfied simply to daddle.
This loafin’ along to some folks may seem fine –
But I’ll take the good, old quickwater fer mine.

They talk about strife an’ the sweet, simple life
An’ the folly of hustle an’ worry;
They seem kind o’ proud thet they’ve never allowed
Themselves to git into a hurry.
They find a green pool thet is shady an’ cool,
Er they monkey around in an eddy,
An’ their boat whirls about an’ they never git out –
But they talk about nerves thet is steady.
But, as just fer me, in this life-livin’ biz,
I want to git somewhere, wherever it is.

Oh, it’s hot in the stream with the sunshine agleam
An’ no shade er no shadow thet’s coolin’,
An’ the quickwater foams, an’ the white ripple combs,
An’ there ain’t no occasion fer foolin’.
It’s your life in your hand, an’ your nose in the sand
Unless all your muscle you’re givin’;
But when you git through an’ you bail your canoe –
Well, you know, anyhow, you’ve been livin’.
So none of the life thet is simple fer me;
I want to be busy, wherever I be.



by Douglas Malloch

What is it most that the soul remembers
In the long years that come afterwhiles?
What are the thoughts of the long Decembers
When white and empty lie snowy miles?
What is the picture that grows and smiles
Deep in the heart of the glowing embers?

We dream no dream of the passing pleasures
That held us thralls in an idle hour.
We count no riches in heaping measures
Nor pulse again with a futile power —
Nay, a verdant tree or a crimson flower
Is the jewel then that the memory treasures.

Oh, these are the visions that come long after
When face to face with our own sad soul;
We see a tree in the smoky rafter,
Behold a rose in the glowing coal;
The months of Wintertime backward roll
And the room is filled with the ghost of laughter.

For here is the tree that we knew together
When the ending year was a Springtime young;
The northman*s pine and the Scotsman’s heather.
The Briton’s oak where the children swung –
Oh, these are the things by the night wind sung
Above the roar of the wintry weather.

For all the year is a time of clover
While Memory sits by the ingleside,
And Home goes forth with the world-wide rover
To ev’ry country o’er ev’ry tide;
And when the Autumn has drooped and died
We live our Summers, our Summers, over.

Life has its seasons and life its sorrows.
When the soul sits dreaming a dream like this.
When the hungry heart from the pale past borrows
A silenced voice or an ended kiss –
Yea, in our sorrow we find our bliss,
And weave of Yesterdays our To-morrows.


Make Me Mellow

by Douglas Malloch

Some would have Spring within the heart,
But I, some mellow month in mine
Like old October: flowers depart,
And even youth must resign –
But always, brothers, there are some
To whom no Winters ever come:
Always October skies are theirs,
Even amid life’s wintry cares.

And I would have my soul look the same:
I cannot keep the look of youth,
But how October maples flame –
Age takes our beauty, gives us truth,
Age takes our wit, and makes us wise,
Age gives us life’s October skies
And old October’s mellower days,
A better time a thousand ways.

God make me mellow! Make me not
Sudden as Summer, brief as Spring.
I would not blow too cold, too hot,
I would keep kind through ev’rything.
I may give others less than flow’rs
Of flattery, but in their hours
Of grief, of trouble and of need
May I bring rather fruits to feed.


The Birth Of Hope

by Douglas Malloch

Last night the path of life was drear
And dead leaves shivered in the breeze.
Last night the world was bleak and blear.
And want and sorrow, pain and fear,
Lurked in the shadows of the trees.

Dead leaves, dead leaves of other days.
Touched by the frost of fate unkind,
Lay clustered deep in woodland ways
Or hurried over frozen bays,
Urged by an unrelenting wind.

But lo! the new year and the morn
Came with the passing of the night.
Another life and world were born —
The sable curtains, rent and torn.
Revealed a vista fair and bright.

The trees, new-leaved, are filled with bloom —
The buds of new and happy hours.
Gone are the midnight and the gloom,
And golden shafts of light illume
Hope’s fragrant pathway strewn with flowers.


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