English poetry

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Compensation Pete

Compensation Pete

He used to say: There ain’t a doubt
Misfortune is a bitter pill,
But if you only pry it out
You’ll find there’s good in every ill.
There’s comfort in the worst of woe,
There’s consolation in defeat. . .
Oh what a solace-seeker! So
We called him Compensation Pete.

He lost his wealth – but was he pipped?
Why no – “That’s fine,” he used to say.
“I’ve got the government plumb gypped –
No more damn income tax to pay.
From cares of property set free,
And with no pesky social ties,
Why, even poverty may be
A benediction in disguise.”

He lost his health: “Okay,” he said;
“I’m getting on, may be the best.
I’ve always loved to lie abed,
And now I have the right to rest.
Such heaps o’ things I want to do,
I’ll have no time to fret or brood.
I’ll read the dam ol’ Bible through:
Guess it’ll do me plenty good.”

He has that line of sunny shine
That makes a blessing of a curse,
And he would say: “Don’t let’s repine,
Though things are bad they might be worse.”
And so he cherished to the end
Philosophy so sane and sweet
That everybody was his friend. . .
With optimism hard to beat –
God bless old Compensation Pete.



Poem Compensation Pete - Robert William Service