A medal pinned upon the breast

Is heroism self-confessed

For all the world to see;

No thoughts of meekness animate

The minds of those who would be great,

But those of vanity.


The truly great are they who hide

What lesser men do quick confide,

Desirous of acclaim.

And, lest they over-weening seem,

They sacrifice their peers’ esteem

By bearing others’ shame.


The heart within the breast is hid

By him who makes no overt bid

For honour and renown.

And he deserving most our praise

May mask his own revealing face

With daubings of a clown.


A medal with its ribbons bright

Is all too prone to catch the sight

Of those who soon forget.

But in a world of brotherhood

The worth of men is understood

By selfless toil and sweat.


And he who most deserves regard

Is not the man with medals starred,

But he, upon whose breast

The broken and the poor may lean,

The likest to the Nazarene,

On whom all men may rest.


Weekly Times  8.9.61