“A LESSON IN LIFE” by Hal O’Leary


A lesson that I learned long . . . long ago
To make yourself a man with pride to show,
To give your face that gleaming golden glow,
I have a thought I think you ought to know.
No matter what this life may have to show,
Should it be something you think is below
A standard over which you’d like to crow,
I see no reason why you should forgo
An option that would set your heart aglow.
Instead of begging off and bowing low
When peers demand a stifling quid pro quo,
It’s something that you needn’t undergo.
Those alibis can only bring you woe.
With just one little word you can bestow
Upon yourself a gift to help you grow
Into a man you’d be so proud to know,
The secret is to emulate Thoreau.
There’s no excuse, just tell the bastards NO.


Hal O’Leary, having retired at age 84 from a life of teaching, he has now, at age 90, been published in 18 different countries. Hal is a recent recipient of an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from West Liberty University the same institution from which he became a college dropout some 60 years earlier. He currently resides in Wheeling, WV.