Mike Barrett

Freshman - 970 Points (June,1943 / Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada)

What Is The Measure? - Poem by Mike Barrett

Is the measure
Of a human’s life -
Has never this thought
Crossed your mind?

Does one measure
What another has done
When this other
Has passed through his time?

Is money
Or power
Or wisdom
Or fame
Truly the measure
Of another?


Is kindness of heart
And gentle selfless self-giving
Not nearer the measuring mark?

Your answer is yours
As mine is mine -
But I leave you
With this parting thought:

“ Do you want to be measured
For what you have had,
Or for what you deep down truly are? ”

© M. Barrett – all rights reserved

Poet's Notes about The Poem

This poem was written in the early '80s. At the time I was in Amsterdam contemplating on the recent passing of an employee who worked at a chemicals plant where I was the Human Resources Manager. A few months prior to this poem, in August, Hans learned he had lung cancer. By late-October he passed away. At his funeral the church was packed. In fact some people attended while standing outside on the steps of the church and others, out on the sidewalk. Why so many? Simply to pay there respects. By trade Hans was an electrician and over his life he helped others by doing electrical and electronic repairs. He only charged the price of the part. That simple act, in combination with his open and affable personality won him a place in the hearts of many. This poem is the product of a contemplation on Hans' life.

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Poem Submitted: Saturday, October 26, 2013

Poem Edited: Saturday, November 23, 2013

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