Helen Steiner Rice wrote many inspirational poems. This blog has been written to showcase her incredible poetry and it can also be a great tool for learning English. Additionally, reading poetry has many benefits such as:
- Improving vocabulary
- Developing empathy and insights
- Memorizing poems can even improve long-term brain health
So, enjoy this short blog that briefly details who Helen Steiner Rice was and 4 of our favourite poems that she wrote.
Who was Helen Steiner Rice?
Helen Steiner Rice was a poet and businesswoman. She was born on May 19th, 1900. She showed great promise in high school but unfortunately her father died during the flu epidemic of 1918 and her plans to attend college were derailed.
Impressively, Helen Steiner Rice became the breadwinner for her family when she joined the Lorain Electric Light and Power Company. She discovered her innate marketing acumen and quickly became the advertising manager.
She married her husband, Franklin Rice, in 1929. However, misfortune struck in the October of that year when the New York Stock Market crashed. Her husband lost all his wealth and assets and this despair led to his suicide in 1932. Helen Steiner Rice was a widow at 32.
Admirably, Helen Steiner Rice continued on and got a new job working for the Gibson Art Company. She became the greeting card expert and spent the next 40 years in this position.
Fur further information on her life, visit the Helen Steiner Rice Foundation. Alternatively, purchase some of her poetry books online.
To whet your apetite, have a look at these 4 inspirational poems by Helen Steiner Rice:
Life by Helen Steiner Rice
If you would aspire a salesman to be
The rulings are simple and few –
Just work, be happy, and never forget
You’re paid for whatever you do.
If you bargain with life for a penny,
You’ll find life will pay you no more,
And you’ll feel that you’ve failed completely
When you figure your final score.
If you realise life is an employer
That pays you whatever you ask
You’ll learn to be honest and never deceive
In any performance or task.
So just set your wage at the highest stake,
And never give up in dismay,
For any wage you may ask of Life,
Old Life will so gladly pay
Friendship by Helen Steiner Rice
Friendship is a priceless gift
That can’t be bought or sold,
But its value is far greater
Than a mountain made of gold.
For gold is cold and lifeless,
It can neither see nor hear
And in your times of trouble,
It’s powerless to cheer.
It has no ears to listen,
No heart to understand.
It cannot bring you comfort
Or reach out a helping hand.
So when you ask God for a gift,
Be thankful that he sends,
Not diamonds, pearls, or riches,
But the love of a real, true friend.
Check out this video of Muhammad Ali reciting this poem. For further information on poetry by Muhammad Ali, check out our blog here.
Business by Helen Steiner Rice
This is more than a way to earn your pay,
More than a place to report each day.
It’s part of your life, and the hours spent here
Comprise a big share of your living each year,
And that is the reason you never should feel
That you’re just a number or a cog in a wheel.
We are part of a team and a circle of friends
Reaching beyond where our own job ends,
Not standing alone but part of a whole
Striving together for one common goal.
What person can boast, ‘I won on my own,’
Or truthfully say, ‘I did this alone,’
When everyone holding a job great or small
Contributes a part to the future of all!
Ideals by Helen Steiner Rice
Remember that ideals
are like the stars up in the sky,
You can never really reach them,
hanging in the heavens high
But like the mighty mariner
Who sailed the storm-tossed sea,
And used the stars to chart his course
with skill and certainty
You too can chart your course in life
with high ideals and love,
For high ideals are like the stars
that light the sky above
You cannot ever reach them,
but lift your heart up high
And your life will be as shining
as the stars up in the sky.
If you want to read more, you may be interested in:
Leave a comment below if there are any pieces of poetry you like to read when you’re learning English, or just in general.