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Berton Braley
Created by Todd Dent
Biography
Berton Braley: An Inspiration To Us All
Biography
Collected Works
Sample Poems
Inspired Poems
Original Poems
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“Let anyone say `Berton Braley,’ in the average crowd of regular Americans
and its dollars to doughnuts that he’ll poll a larger number of hands than
any of the well-known old masters” (Baker).
This quote from an Oregon newspaper shows the popularity
and impact Berton Braley had on people during his time. Berton Braley
was born in Madison, Wisconsin on January 29, 1882. His parents were
Arthur and Alta. Arthur was a writer and wrote many reviews of
Shakespeare. When Braley was seven years old, his father and his only
sister died within nine months of each other. This tragic event changed the
way he looked at things for the rest of his life. In 1905, Braley moved to
Butte, Montana, and started working as a reporter for the town newspaper
("Biography"). While in Butte, he observed the miners working. This
cultivated a respect of the working world and for human achievement.
This experience was evident throughout his writings (Baker). In 1909 he
decided to move to New York. He worked for Life magazine and the New
York Evening Mail. This was when he began writing about life and people.
In 1910, he quit his jobs and began working as a freelance writer. After
some of his works became widely known, he was elected into the Players’
Club. For a short period of his life, he took many trips to foreign countries.
After he married his wife, Elliot, Braley moved to London, and then back to
New York. After many years of writing, he moved to Florida. At five o’clock
a.m. on January 23, 1966, Braley died of cancer at the age of
83("Biography").
Biography cont.
Biography
Collected Works
Sample Poems
Inspired Poems
Original Poems
Bibliography
When Braley was young, he admired his father very much.
Barley’s father first sparked his interest in writing. When Braley was just
eleven years old, his first piece, a fairytale called Why the Grass Is Green,
was published. When Braley turned sixteen, he dropped out of high
school to start working. After two years, he quit his job and returned to
school. In 1900, Braley sold his first poem to Judge Magazine for three
dollars. After Braley graduated from high school, he began attending the
University of Wisconsin. In his first year at college, he wrote “Sonnets of a
Freshman.” After graduating from college, he published “The Oracle on
Smoke.” In the following years, he continued to write while working
numerous jobs. He started working solely as a writer in 1910
("Biography"). He wrote an article called “Berton Braley’s Daily Poem” for
Newspaper Enterprise Association (Baker). After some of his works
became widely known, he was elected into the Players’ Club, a social club
for people of high status. He continued to write poems and short stories
until his death in 1966 ("Biography").
There are many distinct elements within Braley’s poetry.
Although he viewed the world as mainly black and white, he was very
inspirational and optimistic in his writing. He believed that anything was
possible. He also thought that a person should do good deeds. In many of
his poems, the good are praised and the evil are frowned upon (“The
Poetry of Berton Braley”). Additionally, Berton had a pioneering spirit and
applauded productiveness. He believed in the spirit of the individual. If
someone wanted something done, they should do it themselves. Through
hard work one can achieve their goals. Braley used many literary
elements in his poems. For example, Braley incorporated rhyme and
rhythm in his poetry. He also used alliteration, assonance, and refrains.
Braley is notable because he expressed moral and values throughout his
writing and motivated and inspired his readers. As Braley states in Start
Where You Stand, “The future is for him who does and dares.”
Collected Works
Biography
Collected Works
Sample Poems
Inspired Poems
Original Poems
Bibliography
A Little Further
A Prayer
Essential
Gifts
Man
Mavericks
Purely Personal
Start Where You Stand
Success
That's Success
The Climbers
The Great Adventure
The Pioneers
The Price
The Scouting Trail
The Thinker
The Will To Win
Why Not?
More poems by Berton Braley
“The Price”
Analysis of “The Price”
By Berton Braley
Biography
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Whatever the freedom we own
Somebody has striven and tried for it;
By war through the years it has grown
By strength of the men who have died for it;
Each stone in the structure of truth-Some one has made ready and right for it.
Some one has spent heart's blood and youth,
Some one has been willing to fight for it.
Not always has blood been the pay
But always a price has been paid for it;
The worth of achievement to-day
Is gauged by the struggle we've made for it.
There need not be rancor or hate
Nor bitterness, terror and blight for it,
But nothing is worthy or great,
Unless you are willing to fight for it.
You cannot buy progress with gold
(You get but the emptiest shell of it);
But to win it and earn it and hold
You must go through the heat and the hell of it,
You must suffer the sweat and the pain,
You must toil all the day and the night for it,
For nothing worth while you can gain
Unless you are willing to fight for it.
Analysis of “The Price”
Biography
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Inspired Poems
Original Poems
Bibliography
In Berton Braley’s poem “The Price,” he uses many
literary devices and poetic elements to convey the message is trying
to send. He uses a specific rhyme scheme, rhythm, and refrains
throughout the poem. The poem is about what people have to do to
get what they want and how people need the will to fight for what
they feel is right. Braley wants the reader to know that someone has
always paid a price for what they wanted and for what they felt was
true, either verbally or physically. An example showing his rhyme,
rhythm, and refrains is portrayed in the following lines. “Each stone in
the structure of truth--/ Someone has made ready and right for it/
Some one has spent heart’s blood and youth/ Some one has been
willing to fight for it.” Another examples of his poetic devices is
shown in the next line. “You must suffer the sweat and the pain/ You
must toil all the day and night for it/ For nothing worth while you can
gain/ Unless you are willing to fight for it.” These examples show the
rhyme scheme, rhythm, and refrains. It shows his rhyme scheme,
because every line rhymes with the line two times before it. It also
displays the rhythm in the poem. The first and third lines in each
stanza are shorter than the second and last line. This creates a
specific rhythm. It additionally shows refrains. A refrain is when a
line or phrase is repeated many times. The phrase “some one” is used
many times throughout the poem. Braley used these elements for a
reason. These elements make it easier and more fun to read while
helping send his message to the reader. Without the devices the
poem would be very bland. “The Price” is an amazing poem that
makes the reader realize how lucky we are to have what freedoms we
have and also the motivation people need to get what they want.
Sample Poems
“Purely Personal”
Biography
Collected Works
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Berton Braley’s “Purely Personal” is an eye opening
poem. The main theme of the poem is that we are who we
are. We need to accept others for who they are rather than
rejecting them for what they are not. I chose this poem
because it teaches us to be accepting of others and
nonjudgmental. The following lines express another idea. I
am as I am/ With the faults that beset me/ And which I
should cure/ But my nature won’t let me/ And if you’re as you
are/ As I am as I am/ You will get me. These lines teach us that
by accepting others we will understand who they really are
on the inside.
Purely Personal
By Berton Braley
Biography
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I am as I am
With the faults that beset
me,
And which I should cure,
But my nature won't let me.
And if you're as you are
As I am as I am,
You will get me.
I am as I am.
Though I can rearrange me
In some minor details,
I am helpless to change me
From the basic Myself.
And I've got what I've got
`Cause I am what I am
And I'm not what I'm not.
I am as I am
And I do as I do
As I am, being me,
And not you, being you.
Perhaps I would be
And do better by far,
If I weren't as I am
And I were as you are,
But I'm bound to be me
And, without any sham,
Make the best of whatever
I am - as I am!
Sample Poems
“Why Not?”
Biography
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“Why Not?” is a very motivating poem. The
main purpose behind this poem is to make us realize
that, at some point, we are all going to pass away, but
while we are living we need to make the most out of
life and leave a positive legacy behind. I chose this
poem because it teaches us that living a life of honor
and integrity is important, so that when the day comes
for us to meet the grave, we can say our life was well
lived. The following lines explain that even though
death is ugly, there is a life afterwards and our spirit
lives on. Up out of the darkness we reach to the light/
And slowly through ages we toil to the height/ The
soul of a mortal is more than his clay/ The spirit of
man can defy all decay.
Why Not?
By Berton Braley
Biography
Collected Works
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Why shouldn't the soul of a mortal be proud?
Life goes, it is true, like a swift-flying cloud
But while it is going and ere he has died
A man may do many things worthy of pride
The high and the humble, the meek and the brave,
Are all of them destined in time for the grave,
But while they are living and drawing their breath
They may create something that lives after death.
The Builder may build and the singer may sing,
The Painter may paint while his time's on the wing.
And when they are buried deep down in the grime
The things they have made will remain for all time.
Man conquers the mountains, the seas and the air,
And deserts turn gardens while under his care.
He does wondrous deeds in the scant space allowed;
Why shouldn't the soul of a mortal be proud?
Up out of the darkness we reach to the light
And slowly through ages we toil to the height.
The soul of a mortal is more than his clay;
The spirit of man can defy all decay!
So lift up your eyes to the Truth that is God's:
In spite of disaster, in face of all odds,
The spirit of Man is not wrapped in the shroud,
Why shouldn't the soul of a mortal be proud?
Inspired Poems
Inspired Poem
Start Where You Stand
Biography
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Start where you stand and never mind the past,
The past won't help you in beginning new,
If you have left it all behind at last
Why, that's enough, you're done with it, you're through;
This is another chapter in the book,
This is another race that you have planned,
Don't give the vanished days a backward look,
Start where you stand.
The world won't care about your old defeats
If you can start anew and win success;
The future is your time, and time is fleet
And there is much of work and strain and stress;
Forget the buried woes and dead despairs,
Here is a brand-new trial right at hand,
The future is for him who does and dares,
Start where you stand.
Old failures will not halt, old triumphs aid,
To-day's the thing, to-morrow soon will be;
Get in the fight and face it unafraid,
And leave the past to ancient history,
What has been, has been; yesterday is dead
And by it you are neither blessed nor banned;
Take courage, man, be brave and drive ahead,
Start where you stand.
Inspired Poems
“Start Where You Stand”
Life Lessons
By Todd Dent
Inspired by Start Where You Stand
Biography
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Inspired Poems
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Star where you stand and never mind the past
The future is your purpose, hold steadfast
The past is a burden, leave it behind
Look to the future, focus your mind
Blunders were made, lessons were learned
Prices were paid, knowledge as earned
Destiny is yours to have and to hold
Don’t limit yourself, have vigor, be bold
Tomorrow’s your vision, yesterday’s gone
Each morning an awakening, venture on
Plant your feet firmly, take the first leap
Opportunities you encounter are yours to reap
Inspired Poems
Inspired Poem
The Will to Win
By Berton Braley
Biography
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Inspired Poems
Original Poems
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If you want a thing bad enough
To go out and fight for it,
Work day and night for it,
Give up your time and your peace and your sleep for it
If only desire of it
Makes you quite mad enough
Never to tire of it,
Makes you hold all other things tawdry and cheap for it
If life seems all empty and useless without it
And all that you scheme and you dream is about it,
If gladly you'll sweat for it,
Fret for it,
Plan for it,
Lose all your terror of God or man for it,
If you'll simply go after that thing that you want.
With all your capacity,
Strength and sagacity,
Faith, hope and confidence, stern pertinacity,
If neither cold poverty, famished and gaunt,
Nor sickness nor pain
Of body or brain
Can turn you away from the thing that you want,
If dogged and grim you besiege and beset it,
You'll get it!
Inspired Poems
“The Will To Win”
Biography
I Want It
By Todd Dent
Inspired by The Will To Win
Collected Works
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I want it, I want it,
There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for it
Sleepless nights, incessant fights
Oh, the weary quest for it
I want it, I want it,
The endless pursuit of it
Chasing dreams, inventing schemes
Oh, the realm of possibilities for it
I want it, I want it,
With all my tenacity I’ll strive for it
Persistent plots, determined thoughts
I’ll never tire of this journey to complete it
Original Poems
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How?
Inspired by To Kill a Mockingbird
What happened?
Tom took advantage of me.
What did you do?
Hollered and screamed.
Where were the children?
No answer.
How does your father treat you?
He’s tollable ‘cept…
Except when he’s drinking?
Who’s the one that beat you?
That negro yonder.
What did he do?
He cussed and called me dirt.
He put his hands ‘round my neck and threw me to the ground.
How?
Original Poems
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Tee Time
The crisp, fresh air engulfs my lungs
Invigorating my soul.
The rising sun is beginning it’s ascend above the horizon.
Its tangerine and flaxen hues stimulating my eyes.
The freshly clipped grass scrunches under my toes
As the early morning dew sprinkles the tips of my shoes.
The packed bag gently breathes its weight against my back
Approaching the destination.
The rigid weathered gloves slip onto my hands
Encasing anticipating fingers.
The cold sleeping club is gently grasped and awakened
For the task at hand.
TEE TIME!
Biography 2
Bibliography
Biography
Collected Works
Sample Poems
Inspired Poems
Original Poems
Bibliography
Biography:
http://www.bertonbraley.com/biography.htm
http://tinyurl.com/kjbn2x
http://tinyurl.com/4x9qdoe
Pictures:
Biography 1- http://www.bertonbraley.com/
Biography 2- http://www.enotes.com/topic/Berton_Braley
The Price- http://mssparky.com/category/a-soldiers-story/
Tee Time- http://photomania.us/photo/1186166303/index.htm
How?- http://www.xtimeline.com/evt/view.aspx?id=114423
Analysis of The Price- http://tinyurl.com/3zzl65j
Purely Personal- http://tinyurl.com/3vm7k25
Why Not?- http://tinyurl.com/3tdq5kq
Life Lessons- http://tinyurl.com/3rurpes
Start Where You Stand- http://tinyurl.com/3etf9os
The Will to Win- http://www.sweatyguineapig.com/?p=1059
I Want It- http://www.orgsites.com/az/saflagstaff/

Berton Braley - West Fargo Public Schools