A Reminder to Our Young People

To say life has no hardship’s to deceive,
But trials and tribulations help us grow.
Commensurate with giving we receive,
Reward reflects the effort that we show.
Existence without challenge would be bland,
Though it may seem desirable to some.
Responsibility goes hand in hand
With man becoming all he can become.
This chain of life in which we’re each one link
Leads back unbroken through primeval days;
If they could see what would our forebears think
Of present attitudes and modern ways?
__And who will live to see our culture mourned
__When parenthood’s disdained and family’s scorned?



To Honesty

To honesty such worth good men attach
That every instance of deceit offends;
Ill-favored lies truth’s beauty ne’er could match
Nor falsity retracted make amends.
Once broken, trust like glass will not repair,
Nor taint from any liar be dispelled;
The stigma of dishonesty he’ll wear
While lowly in man’s estimation held.
No good man has great trespasses to hide
Thus seldom is he tempted to mislead,
If it be so, he’ll hear his conscience chide
And not the siren call of falsehood heed.
__So fortunate the one who learns in youth:
__In truth is beauty and in beauty truth.



Philip Keefe was born in Wales and educated in England. A sometime carpenter, sailor and song lyricist he is now a naturalized American citizen retired and living in Rockledge, Florida.

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4 Responses

  1. Margaret Coats

    Philip, it is a great pleasure to see these admirable sonnets on education coming from Rockledge, Florida, where I spent the four years of high school. I hope the teachers there today are good ones, but they could hardly surpass the ones I remember. I also hope the river road and the tiny islands are just as lovely as many years ago. In your first sonnet, I’m especially impressed with lines 3 and 4, that teach the importance of “giving” and “effort” in the process of becoming all that one can become. You are quite correct to end that poem with a warning about respect for parents and family. If self-sacrifice is not learned in the family, it can hardly be absorbed at school. In the second sonnet, I first demurred at your bold line, “No good man has great trespasses to hide.” Surely there are good men who overcome great misdeeds in their past–but your point is (I take it), they don’t hide them. They truthfully acknowledge the evil, call it evil and don’t pretend it was good, and if necessary make their repentance public. This is a difficult lesson to learn, but you are quite right that once it is learned, such good men tend to be good leaders. Thanks for your splendid poems!

    • Philip Keefe

      Hello Margaret

      Thank you for reading my poems and for your comments. I think you understand very well what I was trying to say.
      As for Rockledge, the pleasant drive along the river is probably pretty much as you would remember it though there are new big houses replacing old ones here and there also they are talking about cutting down some trees which overhang the road dangerously they say.
      I don’t know about the standard of teaching at the high school as my children attended in Massachusetts years ago.
      Regards Philip

      • Peter Hartley

        I enjoyed both of these very much, particularly the apposite summings up in their final couplets, of which the Keats paraphrase was spot on. And it is so unusual today to find poetry that is in any way salutary.

  2. Philip Keefe

    Peter Hartley

    Thank you for your generous words. They are much appreciated

    Philip Keefe


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