From the Omaha Daily Bee, June 3, 1913.
Dr. A. L. Bixby of the Nebraska State Journal, Lincoln, delighted the Nebraska State Press association at the opening session yesterday at the Hotel Rome with his annual poem, in which he spun his homely philosophy thus:
Dear brethren of the shears and quill, And sisters, who are dearer still; Perhaps I do not need to say, In my melancholy way, The words you doubtless recollect, Which all have heard, to this effect: These words, prophetic and profound, “Another year has rolled around.” No odds what we may do or say, The stubborn years roll on that way, And we who yesterday were seen, And known among the young and green, Now train with other gray-haired men, Grown old, but just as green as then. Life is so short, let me declare Before a man gets anywhere, Before he can half realize On that which ought to make him wise, The summons comes for him to dress In spotless white and go to press, To let life’s solemn problems go, To close his face and keep it so. I do not claim the man a sage Whose only virtue is his age, Because as many jog along Their prejudice becomes more strong, And they subsist on that alone, While reason totters on her throne. In my own case I call to mind A string of years I’ve left behind; Already far above the span Allotted to the average man; And I have written in that time A lot of bungling prose and rhyme; Enough, as I have often held, To keep my head from getting swelled; To make my self-importance wilt Beneath the weight of conscious guilt. With all my experience, If I have gained a lick of sense, It is along the simple way Of how to live and make it pay. It isn’t what we have and hold— You cannot measure it in gold— But what we are and what we do To make the bells of life ring true. These are the things that always bless, And really help us more or less. Who makes two beams of sunlight play Where one beam trembled yesterday, Who drops a frown and wears a smile, As surely makes his life worth while. As he takes the other tack Deserves to go and not come back. I’d rather have it truly said Of me at last when I am dead, That I was always true and kind To all the folks I left behind, And made the earth a brighter place In spite of my unsightly face, Than have it said that I was great, In gaining bonds and real estate, And “copped” to gratify my greed A d—d sight more than ten men need. This is my message - if a thought Can be evolved (I don’t know what)— Withhold, I pray, your heartless kicks, It’s short, and that should help some. Bix.