How Did You Die Poem

how did you die poem

How Did You Die?

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

-Edmund Vance Cooke

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

    • Lee
    • October 1, 2010
    Reply

    A really beautiful poem Shawn, it is not a matter that you spent your life here on this earth but what did you contribute to the earth, mother nature, human life, helping others.

    Caring for those in need, giving a helping hand, never turning your back on those who need your help. So easy to just think about ourselves and our needs but there is always someone in greater despair who needs our help and care.

    Look at all the elderly left abandoned in nursing homes. A neighbour all alone, when we share our life with others we receive much more then we give. Some may prefer to take a pet home, save it from death, devotion will be repaid.

    Offer to help out in the hospitals. Start talking to people. a smile and kind words everyone will enjoy, and will respond with kindness, it makes for a wonderful day. Just some thoughts.

    1. Reply

      Well said, Lee. Yes, life is too short to be mean. You bring up a lot of good ways we can improve our own lives and those of others by just extending a little kindness. It sometimes strikes me as being one of the main reasons we’re here on this earth….

    • Laurie
    • October 1, 2010
    Reply

    Love it! It isn’t the fact that your dead that counts, but only how did you die? Wonderful poem to absorb.

    • Rainelda
    • October 3, 2010
    Reply

    Great piece!What a spoken feeling!One reason why I love literature is that it always speaks of life.thanks to you for sharing timeless,priceless piece.It’s truly Something.It’s a very good question to ponder upon.I will try to live the best I could…

    • NPM
    • September 10, 2011
    Reply

    I read this poem as a child, and loved it. I was looking for it to show a friend, and to quote a line in my blog http://nonameportermcshirley.wordpress.com Thank you for posting this poem.

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