At Graduating Time!

Tonight marks the evening of our spring semester graduation ceremony.  To honor our graduates, here is a poem that I discovered several years ago.

At Graduating Time

The graduates are going forth —
God bless them every one! —
To run this hard and stubborn world
Just as it should be run;
But much I fear they’ll find that facts
Don’t always track with dreams;
And running this old world is not
As easy as it seems.

The graduate is prone to think
His wisdom is complete.
He’s but to ask — the world will lay
It’s trophies at his feet.
But school day done and work begun,
He learns to his regret
The college of experience
He has not mastered yet.

The world has garlands and applause
At graduating time;
But may forget him the next day
When he attempts to climb.
Life is a battle where each one
Must seek and hold his own.
He who wold rise above the clouds
Must scale the heights alone.

This is the rule of life today,
As it has ever been:
The world bestows its smile on those
Who have the strength to win.
Beneath all outward semblances
It looks for merit true.
It little cares how much you know,
But asks, what can you do?


Source: Days and Deeds: a Book Verse for Children’s Reading and Speaking compiled by Burton E. Stevenson and Elizabeth B. Stevenson


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