How Did You Die?

Creative Corner

Highlighting Canadian Poet : Edmund Vance Cooke

In most cases, life is just a journey to the grave. I believe that we should live every day as if it were our last. After reading this poem by Edmund Vance Cooke, I realized how important it is to keep your head no matter what you're going through. This poem has a curious tone when the poet asks whether you have accepted life with a joyful and resolute heart.

The theme is wonderful when the poet explains that although people may fall or be overthrown by circumstances, they should still face the challenges and fight back. This poem is very unusual for its sense of objectivity.

Enjoy this life changing poem:

Did you tackle that trouble that came your way

With a resolute heart and cheerful?

Or hide your face from the light of day

With a craven soul and fearful?

Oh, a trouble’s a ton, or a trouble’s an ounce,

Or a trouble is what you make it,

And it isn’t the fact that you’re hurt that counts,

But only how did you take it?

You are beaten to earth? Well, well, what’s that?

Come up with a smiling face.

It’s nothing against you to fall down flat,

But to lie there — that’s disgrace.

The harder you’re thrown, why the higher you bounce;

Be proud of your blackened eye!

It isn’t the fact that you’re licked that counts,

It’s how did you fight — and why?

And though you be done to the death, what then?

If you battled the best you could,

If you played your part in the world of men,

Why, the Critic will call it good.

Death comes with a crawl, or comes with a pounce,

And whether he’s slow or spry,

It isn’t the fact that you’re dead that counts,

But only how did you die?"

About the Poet:

“Edmund Vance Cooke, born on June 5 in Port Dover, Canada and died on December 18, 1932 was popularly known as The poet of Childhood. He started his career as a worker in White Sewing Machine Co. Factory at the age between 13 to 14 years and served for 14 years in the factory. Later he was self employed as poet and lecturer in 1893.His first book of poem A Patch of Pansies (1894). He was married to Lilith Castleberry in 1989 and had five children. He has published 16 books in which most of them are verse. He had also contributed his poems to WWJ radio station, Detroit News in 1920. His poem “How did you die?” was published in 1903. His other well known works are Impertinent Poems, Chronicles of the Little Tot, I Rule the House, The Story Club and others.”

Attributions: Source Cited: (Unread Poet Society)

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Muhammad Nasrullah Khan is the publisher of Creative Corner. His short stories and poems are well-recognized internationally for his unique style. His creative work has appeared in Adbusters, Evergreen review, Indiana Voice Journal, Newtopia Magazine, Gowanus Books,Offcourse literary Journal University at Albany, The Raven Chronicles, and many others. His book is available on Amazon at:


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