A Poet’s Donation

A Poet’s Donation Image

In 1919, the Joint Charities campaign received a special donation. It wasn’t in the form of a money order or cash – it was a modest donation by a poet who wanted to help in the only way he could.

The poet wrote to campaign headquarters (at that time, located in the Liberty Building) to say:

[I] take pleasure in handing you herewith a little poem but newly written. There are absolutely no strings tied to this offer – you may use this poem in any way you see fit or -- if seems best to you, throw it in the wastepaper basket.

It has been [my] privilege, during the years of the war, to contribute several similar little bits which were used by publicity departments, not because they were good and deserving of use, but because a bit of rhyme oft times makes an appeal that reams of prose will not.

It is with the same spirit of goodwill for the success of your present campaign that I herewith submit, "Charity".

And so, here it is, nearly a century later.




by L.C. Burdick


As down a crowded city street,

I slowly made my way,

I caught the smiles of those who’d greet

Some friend of yesterday.

The friendly nod, the playful glance,

The kindly words they’d say,

Each seemed to me, a free-flung lance

To warn dull cares away.


Each happy laugh, each friendly look,

A story seemed to hold,

Of moments passed in quiet nook,

More precious, far, than gold.

While confidence and loyalty,

Were stamped in letters bold,

Bespeaking true fidelity

Doth hearts of friends enfold.


And tho each moment I beheld

New faces passing by,

In every face, Love seemed to weld

The best that in men lie.

The souls of all were bared to me,

As eye sought friendly eye,

And in each soul was Charity,

With Faith and Hope close by.


November 1919