The following poem is one of my favorites.
I came across it - again - as I was reading through an old diary I kept in college. I recorded this poem as a favorite then - the entry was dated September 4, 1993, I'd have just been starting my sophomore year. I would have been searching for direction and meaning in my life at that point (I didn't know my Compass yet - the One who always points the Way) - and this poem must have resonated with me then - and it still resonates with me today.
It was written by Bessie Stanley - though in my journal, I attribute it to "Mrs. Arthur J. Stanley" - one and the same, of course - just interesting to discover that she actually had a first name! I'd have called her Bessie if I'd known her, so I'll call her Bessie now.
She wrote this for a competition - which she won, and for which she was awarded $250 (a sweet sum back in 1905). Click here to read the story from the November 30, 1905 Lincoln Sentinel.
Keep reading for Bessie Stanley's excellent poem on "What Constitutes Success?"
What Constitutes Success?
He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much;
Who has enjoyed the trust of pure women, the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children;
Who has filled his niche and accomplished his task;
Who has never lacked appreciation of Earth's beauty or failed to express it;
Who has left the world better than he found it,
Whether an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul;
Who has always looked for the best in others and given them the best he had;
Whose life was an inspiration;
Whose memory a benediction.