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Altogether Different

From the Omaha Daily Bee, July 16, 1915. By Philander Johnson.

They bid us laugh at trouble and to chase dull care away,
For trouble will grow greater if you nurse it day by day.
But I couldn’t laugh at trouble and I couldn’t banish care
When fate turned out a grievance as my own especial share.
I’ve smiled at the material for customary glee:
The cook who burned the biscuit seemed a mirthful sprite to me.
The small boy with a stomach ache—how he has made me grin;
How I’ve chuckled at the teacher who sat down upon a pin.
But when the biscuit that was burned at breakfast met my gaze,
My feelings sought expression in a dozen different ways.
The small boy with the pain, when once I met him face to face,
Evoked my sympathy and left of laughter not a trace.
Of joy the situation showed a most convincing lack
When I sustained a puncture by a pin or by a tack.
That smiles will banish sorrow all philosophy has shown;
But it’s hard to laugh at trouble if the trouble is your own.

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