Monday 10 July 2017

The Smiling Goat

Welcome back to Poetry Monday!

Read a poem, write a poem, leave a poem, have fun! Check out Diane's and Delores' blogs for more poetic goodness.

Last week seemed awfully busy for a four-day work week (we had Monday off in lieu of Saturday, July 1st, our country's birthday). I'm not sure how a day off makes life more busy instead of less busy, but it seems to do that.

As a result, my poem-making brain cells are dry as a bone. Therefore, I offer this verse I learned from my mother, who learned it from her father. On doing some internet checking, I discovered that it has been around for a long time, in a number of variations, and has been attributed to a number of sources. You can read more at the Wikiquote entry, HERE, for the author Stephen Grellet, who seems to be the most favoured source. 

I shall pass through this world but once.
Any good, therefore, that I can do
Or any kindness I can show to any human being,
Let me do it now.
Let me not defer or neglect it,
For I shall not pass this way again.

The only change I'd make to this would be to substitute "living thing" in place of "human being," because critters of all kinds, not just people, need to be treated with respect and thoughtfulness.

This might be my shortest post ever.

Now, we can't have that, can we???

We need some padding to give this post some self-respect.

A picture and a question should do it.

Here's the picture:

Kindness can be as easy as showing a little smile.

And here is my question for anyone who'd like to weigh in. Random acts of kindness seem to be popular right now, and a very common one is to buy coffee or a fast food order for the next person in line. I keep wondering why. I doubt it's because people in the lineup are impoverished. And if it's to make a stranger feel good, can we do the same thing with a kind word, a smile, or a bit of conversation? Would the money we spend on coffee or fast food do more good at the food bank, the homeless shelter, or elsewhere? This is such a universally accepted form of random act of kindness that I feel I must be missing something here. Any ideas? Thank you for your time and thoughts.

Have a good week, all :)

The smiling goat picture is from our friends at Pixabay.


Elephant's Child said...

Love the smiling goat.
Buying someone else coffee or fast food doesn't appeal. I would rather think that my assistance goes somewhere it is needed. My monetary based kindnesses aren't random. I buy copies of the Big Issue and I provide food donations to assist the homeless. And support a number of charities.
I do smile though, and if someone is wearing something which particularly takes my eye I will tell them so.
And I love your amendment to the poem - which we heard a version of as well.

LL Cool Joe said...

I agree, buying something for the next person in line at a fast food place, seems a bit strange to me. I don't think it's caught on in the UK, or if it has, it hasn't happened to me and I'm glad. I can afford whatever it is I'm queuing to buy, I'd rather it go to someone who can't.

Geo. said...

I have seen that poem, but never knew whom to attribute it to. Thanks! I did write a poem today(I mean yesterday--it's after midnight here) and posted it at "Gardening With Geo." As to acts of kindness, I check the back door for tree frogs so they don't get squished when I close it. I nudge their tiny butts and they hop off to safety.

River said...

I've never agreed with that "buy a coffee for the next person" thing. I think it's silly, how do you know the next person isn't going to order ten lattes and a dozen doughnuts? Far better to help the person in front of you if they are a few cents or maybe a dollar short, especially in a supermarket line. I've done it a few times when I was a checkout chook. Someone with a load of necessary items would be short by ten cents or fifty cents and I'd let them go and put the money in the till from my own pocket later, so it would balance at the end of the day.
I agree with "living thing" instead of "human being" for your poem.

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

Back at Christmastime I was in a line at a grocery store. At that time of year everyone is rushed and nerves are on edge. I only had a few items and the lady in front of me told me to go ahead of her.. She also smiled and said a few pleasantries. As I was checking out, I noticed that she also let another person move ahead of her. When I paid my bill, I gave the checker an extra ten dollars and told her to take it off that lady's bill. I wanted to thank her for giving me and the other customer some extra time and for putting others before herself. I appreciated her sweet spirit and it was the only thing that I could think of to show her that her kindness meant something to me.

Martha said...

What a great poem! I love that you would switch to "living thing". I would, too :)

I've never encountered anyone buying coffee or lunch or whatever for the next person in line. I've never done it for anyone and it's certainly never happened to me. Maybe it's a way for people to connect with one another. I dunno. But if I was to buy a snack or a meal for anyone it would be for a homeless individual or someone who is in need. I also prefer to donate items to food banks where it is desperately needed. Just my two cents :)

only slightly confused said...

If folks were in the line up they can indeed afford their own coffe..but....the act of kindness may spur them to another act and it will trickle down the line..a door opened here, a smile there, an extra tip for a nice waitress, returning a lost has to start somewhere and if a cup of coffee will do it, so be it.

Diane Stringam Tolley said...

I love this poem! How did my Dad miss it?!
And I so agree with spreading the kindness where it will matter most. Those who do need it.
A smile? I use that one A LOT!!!

Red said...

Your Dad was trying to teach you an important part of life. It looks like he dod a good job.

Anonymous said...

Hello Jenny,I think random acts of kindness should only be when the kindness is needed eg a young girl came up to my husband outside a supermarket and asked him if he had £2 he could spare for her bus-fare as she didn't have any money. He said she looked okay and duly gave her the £2. As he was walking back to the car he noticed she had gone to the bus-stop, so he felt she was telling the truth. It is so difficult to know who to help.
You spoke of respect to all living beings, so my poem today is one I wrote not too long ago about this same topic. It's a long one, sorry.

All living things deserve respect,
From each and everyone.
Animal, insect, bird and tree,
All living things under the sun.

We should respect the spider,
When they weave their webs so fine.
Don't begrudge them their daily catch,
It's a meal for them to dine.

We should respect wild animals,
When they kill their vulnerable prey.
They also need to eat their lunch,
Each and every day.

We should respect all plants and trees,
With their majesty and splendour.
Showing us their annual growth,
With blossoms so perfect and tender.

We should respect all types of birds,
That soar in the sky so high.
Each with their own different calling,
Oh! If only I could fly.

We should respect all children,
With their innocence and youth.
We should help teach and guide them,
And tell them the absolute truth.

We should all respect each other,
Each with our own different ways.
Living our lives in comfort,
To fill and enjoy our days.

So, live and let live,
Is how we all should be.
If you don't interfere with others,
They won't interfere with thee.

Have a good day and not too stressful.

Joan (Devon)

jenny_o said...

Yes, a sincere compliment is a lovely thing! Your ways of helping are all thoughtful and helpful. What is the Big Issue? I haven't heard of that before. Thanks for your thoughts, EC.

jenny_o said...

Maybe it's a North American thing. I've seen write ups in the local paper and as far away as the U.S. (I'm in Canada) about the coffee thing. Interesting it doesn't seem to be in the UK. Sensible people, you!

jenny_o said...

I'll be over to check out your poem shortly, Geo. Thanks for joining in! Your checking for tree frogs is a great example of doing what is needed ... every single day. I always feel badly when I find a bug that's been in the wrong place at the wrong time when a door has been shut.

jenny_o said...

Haha- I've thought the same thing about the large coffee shop order! How do you even know how much to give the cashier in advance?

It was very kind of you to make up people's shortfalls. It must have cost quite a bit over time if you were in that job for awhile. Thanks for your input, River.

jenny_o said...

Time is valuable and it was kind of that lady to give of hers. I understand your response; it was to acknowledge and return her kindness, not a random act. Thanks for this.

jenny_o said...

Maybe it's less common than I gathered from the news ... or maybe I fixated on it because I didn't understand it. I see that Delores, right below you here, has a good comment on the practice, though ...

jenny_o said...

You have shone a bright light in a dim corner of my brain, Delores! lol ... I think I get it now. It's to start a chain reaction. I hope the message isn't getting lost on people, though, and it's not just turning into everyone buying coffee for everyone else. Someone needs to explain this to people! (or maybe they're not all as thick as I am)

jenny_o said...

Why did I suspect you smile a lot, Diane? And you have such a great one! A smile is something it seems many people don't get enough of, and it doesn't cost a thing.

jenny_o said...

The poem certainly stuck with me. It's been years since I heard it, but it's still in my brain, as fresh as anything :)

jenny_o said...

That is so lovely, Joan. It expresses so well what I feel, too. And never, ever worry about length. All poems are welcome. Thank you for your excellent contribution. Have you got all moved and settled in yet? Hope it went well!

Anonymous said...

Yes Jenny thank you, moved in and more or less sorted with just a couple of hiccups on moving day. A few hiccups are par for the course, aren't they?

Joan (Devon)

e said...

I had someone pay for my coffee once at a drive thru as a thank you for having waited patiently through their very long order. I never knew who they were but it was a kind thing to do and one I have since done for others. It really doesn't take a lot to be kind to others.

jenny_o said...

I think they are almost required in order for it to be a proper move :)

Glad to hear you're in, at least!

jenny_o said...

Yes, I can see that -- as a thank you for being patient. You're right, it isn't that hard to find ways to be kind, is it?

Elephant's Child said...

The Big Issue is a magazine is published fortnightly and sold on the streets by people who are homeless, disadvantaged or marginalised. They make a profit from each sale. The organisation's motto is 'helping people help themselves...' And it has some great articles too.

jenny_o said...

Ah, yes, now I think I do remember you mentioning it at some point ... That is a great business idea, and buying it is not just about the money but about moral support, too.

Terry said...

Hi Jenny,
I'm not really a poet,
You already know it,.
How did Canad Day go?
Did they put on a show? Did it rain
Or did it snow?

I'm not really a poet I'm afraid.
I'd much rather read than write.
Writing just exposes me as someone why the hell
Am I writing like this?

dinthebeast said...

I had someone pay my bridge toll once, so I paid for the car behind me, hoping it would at least continue until someone who really needed it got the extra $5, as at the time I was struggling with having enough money to get back and forth to work on public transit ($13/day) and had the great fortune of having a nice little car loaned to me so the $5 toll and a tank of gas on payday were all my commute expenses, so I felt as if I finally had something to give.
There's a woman in a wheelchair at the grocery store where we shop, and I always try to have $5 and a bit of good cheer for her when we go, because that's not that hard for me to come up with, and it means a lot to her.

I like the poem, have seen it before, but never knew where it came from, so thank you.

-Doug in Oakland

jenny_o said...

LOL!!! You may not consider yourself a poet but then neither am I, and you DID make me laugh, so there's that :)

jenny_o said...

It seems to me that a lot of folks who give the most have either been there themselves or close to it. The rest should try to understand that it can happen to anybody - even them. Good on you for remembering that lady on a regular basis.

baili said...

your genuine and precious post touched my heart in deep Jenny.

this poetry has universal laws insde in which i believe strongly .
in my whole life i tried hard to make people comfortable around me ,even whom i met only once or at work place and i am so grateful to my dear Lord that i was mostly succeded to leave some nice memories intheir heart about me .
my belief in GOODNESS is huge than in anything else i have in my heart .
i totally ,strongly believe that i can please my God only through the heart of his creatures.

lots of love my friend!

Yorkshire Pudding said...


She poked her head round the corner and smiled
She was a friendly goat and seldom riled
She munched grass in the meadow all day long
Listening to the breeze and sweet birdsong
Till Miss Jenny the farmer led her into the barn
Surely Miss Jenny would do her no harm
But Miss Jenny was in an awful hurry
To prepare a feast that featured goat curry.

jenny_o said...

Goodness is a very powerful force, isn't it? And I can hear and feel the goodness in your heart, baili. Thank you, as always, for speaking your heart!

I very much enjoyed your poem this week on your blog. And I'm happy that your writing voice has come back to you :)

Lots of love in return, my friend.

jenny_o said...

NOOOOOOO! NOOOOO! I don't like curry and I like my goats live and kicking!

But your poem did make me laugh :)

Janie Junebug said...

I don't do the pay for the next person in line thing. However, if someone outside a store or a restaurant asks me for money, I refuse but offer to buy the person something to eat. One young man joined me for lunch and we had a nice chat. Of course, I give to charities, too. I also leave extra-large tips for servers because they work hard and don't get paid well. I don't want to think about goat curry, either. Goats are adorable.


jenny_o said...

Those all sound like good ways to make a difference, Janie. Maybe the pay for the next person in line thing isn't as common as I thought.

Goats are awfully cute, I agree :)

Terry said...

I was in Porthmadog in north Wales when I had to use the bridge there. The toll was only 5p. I had a 20p piece left. I gave it to the toll-keeper and said "this is for me and the next three vehicles" I could see him explaining to the vehicle behind me to put his money away because his fare had already been paid for him.

klahanie said...

Hey Jenny,

Having worked with the homeless, the rough sleepers, some of the most remarkable people I've known, who constantly battle stigmas and assumptions, I forgo any cup of coffee and give help to my fellow human in need. For, such situations can happen to any of us.

Anyway, I have to goat now, sorry, I have to go now, it's gone two in the morning!

Thanks for a wonderful, thoughtful post, my kind friend.

Gary :)

jenny_o said...

And hopefully that inspired those three people to do something nice for someone else ...

jenny_o said...

Good man, Gary. If we all gave up coffee and donated that money to people having a rough time, imagine the result!

Diane Henders said...

I haven't done the "buy the next person in line a coffee" thing, but I have given panhandlers a gift card for MacDonald's or Subway or whatever. I feel better about giving them a meal than money, since I know addictions will often impel them to spend any money they get on more drugs/alcohol/whatever.

I rarely get a thank you and they usually just take the card and look at me as though I've got two heads, so I don't feel very good about the whole thing. I still do it occasionally, though.

Diane Stringam Tolley said...

Just brilliant!

Diane Stringam Tolley said...

I SO agree. I love the song in 'Annie': You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile!
On another note, Delores wanted to try a theme for poetry Monday. What do you think? I've chosen for this Monday and you can use it or not, I'll love you anyways: NONSENSE. Let's see what we can make of that!

Steve Reed said...

I've never heard that verse before, but it certainly is food for thought and good advice! I tend to agree with you on that particular random act of kindness. I think there are probably better, more targeted ways to spend our charity dollars. And not only that, but if I were the next person in line I would feel really weird about it!

jenny_o said...

I know what you mean. There are a lot of things to consider. All we can do is try our best and let it go.

jenny_o said...

Yes, it would make me feel self-conscious. I can buy my own coffee! Do I look like I need someone to buy it for me?

(Actually I don't drink coffee, but I do buy oatcakes from time to time :))

jenny_o said...

That might be a big help for me when I'm casting around for inspiration! I will give it a try!