Your timing is perfect, Mary, because my brain is not in gear atallatall and my head is still stuffed up with a cold.
I decided to try one of the old-faithfuls from my youth, one of the balladeers for whom I've always had a soft spot. Their rhythms have almost always been able to get my rhythms going.
I chose the Scottish-Canadian, Robert W. Service, in part because his early works were first printed in a British Columbia newspaper, and I spent most of my life working for British Columbia newspapers.
The first two lines are Service's, the rest are mine.
Thy life is thine to make or mar,
To flicker feebly, or to soar, a star;
To live with honor or to die in shame,
The choice is yours, my darling, all the same.
Soaring means to thyself be true,
To be a star means nothing there to rue;
Living in honor means not choosing shame,
The choice is yours, my dear one, all the same.
You’ve been given a gift to use,
To use your talent well, and not abuse
The poetry that’s printed with your name;
The choice is yours, my daughter, all the same.*
(This is written to an imaginary daughter, a poet-daughter I think I might have had.)