Today I met a happy man
Greeting the glad new year.
About his face the sunbeams ran
And danced, as straightaway he began
To laugh with right good cheer.
His garb was mean, tho' neat and clean;
No scarf, no hat had he.
He seemed indeed to be in need
And touched by poverty.

'Good friend,' said I, 'why do you laugh
And chortle in the sun,
When we've a bitter cut to quaff.
With profits down to less than half
And gloom for every one?
Know you that these are troublous days,
And life a stern affair,
And all must tread uncertain ways,
Haunted by grim despair?'

The merry rogue looked up at me,
And grinned from ear to ear.
'Why should I not be glad?' said he,
'And strive to greet right merrily
The birth of this glad year?'
'Because,' said I - and frowned again
'Of losses grave and great
That you and I and other men
Have had to bear of late.

'Think well,' I said; 'the times are grave,
And we may lose yet more.
We must give thought on how to save . . . '
He lifted up his head and gave
A long, loud, merry roar.
'I'd like,' said he, when he had pause,
'To share your gloomy views.
But I don't care a whit, because
I've not a thing to lose!'

More verses by Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis

Advertisement