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