From the Grand Forks Daily Herald, January 30, 1915. By J. W. Foley.
This life’s a middlin’ crooked trail, and after forty year
Of knockin’ round, I’m free to say the right ain’t always clear.
I’ve seen a lot of folks go wrong—get off the main high road
An’ fetch up in a swamp somewhere, almost before they knowed.
I don’t set up to be no judge of right and wrong in men,
I ain’t been perfect all my life an’ may not be again;
An’ when I see a chap who looks as though he’s gone astray
I want to think he started right—an’ only lost his way.
I like to think the good in folks by far outweighs the ill;
The trail of life is middlin’ hard an’ lots of it uphill.
There’s places where there ain’t no guides or signboards up, an’ so
It’s part guess work an’ partly luck which way you chance to go.
I’ve seen the trails fork some myself, an’ when I had to choose
I wasn’t sure when I struck out if it was win or lose.
So when I see a man who looks as though he’s gone astray
I want to think he started right an’ only lost his way.
I’ve seen a lot of folks start out with grit an’ spunk to scale
The hills’ that purple over there, an’ somehow lose the trail;
I’ve seen ’em stop an’ start again, not sure about the road,
And found ’em lost on some blind trail, almost before they knowed.
I’ve seen ’em circlin’, tired out, with every pathway blind,
With cliffs before ’em, mountains high, an’ sloughs an’ swamps behind.
I’ve seen ’em circlin’ through the dusk, when twilight’s gettin’ gray,
An’ lookin’ for the main highroad—poor chaps who’ve lost their way.
It ain’t so far from Right to Wrong—the trail ain’t hard to lose;
There’s times I’d almost give my horse to know which one to choose.
There ain’t no guides or signboards up to keep you on the track;
Wrong’s sometimes white as driven snow, an’ right looks awful black.
I don’t set up to be no judge of right and wrong in men;
I’ve lost the trail sometimes myself, an’ may get lost again.
An’ when I see a chap who looks as though he’s gone astray,
I want to shove my hand in his an’ help him find the way!