I Bargained With Life For A Penny

Here’s a well-known poem that I’m sure you’ve read before.

But I know it’s a good one to be reminded of:

My Wage

“I bargained with Life for a penny,
And Life would pay no more,
However I begged at evening
When I counted my scanty store.

For Life is a just employer,
He gives you what you ask,
But once you have set the wages,
Why, you must bear the task.

I worked for a menial’s hire,
Only to learn, dismayed,
That any wage I had asked of Life,
Life would have willingly paid.”

-Jessie B. Rittenhouse

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    • Lee
    • November 10, 2009

    I like this poem very much. Life gives us choices, choices have consequences, always choose wisely.

    • Dave
    • July 16, 2010

    I love this poem.

    It tells me that the reason I am at my current level in life is the result of my ‘negotiations’.

    That if I will get off of my but and work better (not necessarily harder) and re-negotiate my wages, I can get a larger wage.

    Life is as good as I allow it be!

    • Win
    • December 24, 2010

    My grandmother frequently recited this poem to me. through my life, I find it speaks of self worth, the task to me is charictor, and the wage, I find to be far beyond fiscal.

  1. Reply

    Dave this is so true, you get what you ask or you get what you put in.
    And in must cases you have to First give before you can expect something back.
    Just something of the subject – I have been reading your stuff for a while and I am just amazed on how you achieve excellence.
    Keep Going

    • Lee
    • June 3, 2011

    Hello Shawn, such an inspiring poem, words of wisdom,to ponder upon. If we put in the effort then our returns will be rewarding. In everything we do and encounter in this lifetime, we all have a choice. If we choose wisely our return will be plentiful but if we make the wrong choices then things will fall by the wayside and we will have to work that much harder to gain a good return. So we need to plan carefully and work efficiently.
    Hope you have a wonderful weekend

    • Ter Scott!
    • July 13, 2011

    Hello. I’ve known about this poem for a long time, thanks for having it up here for the world to see. I was creating a post this morning for my http://amentorspeaks.blogspot.com/ and thought I’d use it, so I did a Google search and found it on your site. This looks like a great site.

    Best of success to you in all you do! Ter Scott!

    • Richard C
    • March 9, 2013

    The universe is a great big conspiracy for me to have everything I am willing to ask for. I am not a victim. I have right now, EXACTLY what I believe I deserve. NO more no less. Thank you for reminding me.

    • kb
    • July 19, 2015

    Dear Richard C : if you can honestly say that then you have been blessed indeed. Most people are actually held back by many circumstances beyond their control: birth, family finances, job, where you live,, health…and most of all other people and their choices and treatment of you. all impinge upon you and at any given moment what you state above as a universal truth is not true. Things can be overcome, but to say that where you are is your choice…. try living in some part of the world with Ebola, or war, or even in the US trapped in some bad job working for crazy people, until you can find someone else willing to hire you. Loving someone’s who doesn’t feel the same. Losing your health. It’s this kind of bullshit attitude that makes our society so lacking in compassion, and so uncharitable.

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