Remember This

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABe good, but not too good – a little naughty, but not too naughty. Say a prayer if you feel that way, say Damn if it gives you consolation.

Be kind to the world always, if possible – yet, if you must be unkind, smash right and left, get it over and forget it.

Smile, always smile, have a smile ready even though sometimes it hurts. Grab all the happiness you can – whenever and wherever you can – don’t let even a wee bit slip past you.

Live, above all things live, don’t simply exist. If you are blessed enough to know what real love is – love with all your heart, soul, and body.

Live your life so that at any hour you will be able to shake hands with yourself, and try to accomplish at least one thing worthwhile each day. Then when your nights come you will be able to pull up the covers and say to yourself –

“I have done my best.”

~ F. Collis Wildman

*  *  *

Remember This was written in 1906 and printed in 1926. Litigation as to copyright ownership was settled in November, 1941: Wildman v. New York Times.

Wildman lost the case.

I came across this poem last year. Tucked inside a plain wood frame, the simple words spoke to me and so, I paid my dollar, and brought it home.

And here it sits in my little blue room, words to contemplate and sometimes, live by; not the purest prose, nor most compelling. Still, I find it sometimes brings me comfort when I need it most, and hope when hope is fleeting, as hope is want to do.

I told myself this year that I would make an honest effort not to moan or cry; that I would look forward, do what I need to do to move in that direction. Thinking of my writing now, my little novels in various stages of completion, and none yet sold. But Wildman’s words tend to transcend my limited vision of what years past have been and what this year will be. They spill into reality– this is my life, such that it is, with all its trials and tribulations seen, unseen, and yet to come. I read his little ode and smile or curse when I need to; vow again to be true to myself, and kind.

Wildman did not want his words relinquished without personal monetary gain. Failing that, he tried to keep them to himself, and failed again, which was too bad for him. But on days like this, it is a small and unassuming blessing for the likes of me.

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8 thoughts on “Remember This

  1. Poor Wildman. Everyone deserves to be paid for their work, I firmly believe this. That said, I understand why this poem spoke to you, why you took it home and it brings you comfort.
    I don’t know that looking forward negates the occasional moan or cry. Sometimes life sucks, it feels dishonest to pretend otherwise. Then again as you know, I’m especially fond of moaning. (((((Hugs))))) kk, I hope this year brings you many, many reasons to smile. ❤

  2. I’ve never read that before (and I think I haven’t heard of Wildman before, poor guy) I’m glad you shared it, because it’s good to get this kind of a reminder, and often. All too often, I can get wound up and overwrought over things, and super negative, and though I’ve improved greatly (I feel) a reminder is….nice. 😀

  3. I’m with you, Jen. He was inspired. I wonder if he had any idea his little poem would resonate with somebody all these years later. It’s a good little reminder, especially in this new year and by the way, I’m hoping you’re having a good one so far, happy and full of promise.

    ❤ kk

  4. This poem has always meant a lot to me. You see, my father gave me a card for my 5th birthday that had this poem on it- 3 weeks later, he committed suicide. I guess he thought these were good words to live by, and wanted to leave something to guide me through my life, which they have done every day in the 56 years since his passing. Thank-you for sharing….

    • You’re welcome, Patricia. I’m sorry for your loss. Wildman’s words echoed through time and touched us both. I’m glad about that.

      Thank you for stopping by, Patricia.

      xo kk

      • I found a framed (rather poorly) copy of the verse at an estate sale some twenty years ago. It hangs in my hallway ignored as I pass it dozens of times daily. Upon returning from a workshop in Texas last week, I noticed that it was crooked on the wall, so I took it down to read it before setting it level. What a wonderful feeling it was to realize something penned over one hundred years ago was not only still relevant, but coincidentally, spot on with things we covered in class. This old and weathered fifty cent purchase is now priceless to me!

        • It’s a testament to the power of words, that they can reach across time and space to speak to us in a way that moves us. Like you, I found wisdom and comfort in that little verse. We were both lucky, I think.

          Thanks for sharing, Mike, and thank you for visiting my little blog.

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