November 13, 2004 - Bro. Horner Williams "The Invisible Man"
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"Poems"

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
Alpha Alpha Lambda Chapter, Inc.
Founded October 13, 1926

Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.”

Mark 9:35



" To Alpha men, our poems express wisdom to replace inexperience, guidance when direction is lost, confidence in the face of adversity, strength during moments of weakness, humility when pride is abundant, and illustrate love for all mankind. Our poems represent what Alpha men stand for and are cherished as a way of life. " - Brother Dee Anthony Ridgeway
 

"Invictus"
-By William Ernest Henly

Out of the night that covers me, 
Black as the Pit from pole to pole, 
I thank whatever gods may be 
For my unconquerable soul. 

In the fell clutch of circumstance 
I have not winched nor cried aloud 
Under the bludgeoning of chance 
My head is bloody, but unbowed. 

Beyond the place of wrath and tears 
Looms but the horror of the shade 
And yet the menace of the years 
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid. 

It matters not how straight the gate, 
How charged with punishment the scroll, 
I am the master of my fate; 
I am the captain of my soul. 


"IF"
-By Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you 
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you; 
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, 
And make allowance for their doubting too; 
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, 
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies, 
Or being hated, don't give way to hating, 
And yet don't look too good nor talk too wise,

If you can dream--and not make dreams your master; 
If you can think-- and not make thoughts your aim 
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster 
And treat those two impostors just the same; 
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken 
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, 
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken, 
And stoop and build them up with worn-out tools; 

If your can make one heap of all your winnings 
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, 
And lose, and start again at your beginnings 
And never breathe a word about your loss; 
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew 
To serve your turn long after they are gone, 
An so hold on when there is nothing in you 
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!" 

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue 
Or walk with kings--nor lose the common touch, 
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you, 
If all men count with you, but none too much; 
If you can fill the unforgiving minute 
With sixty seconds worth of distance run; 
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it, 
And--which is more--you'll be a Man, my Son!!! 

 

"There Goes An Alpha Man"
-By Peter Clarke

There goes a man of high impulse, of princely mien and grace.
There goes a man of humble faith, a credit to his race.
There goes a man of conscious vast, with will to reach his goal.
There goes a man of lordly rank of heroes stock and soul.
There goes a man of noble cast whom hardship cannot break.
There goes a man in merit clad, whom duty won't forsake.
There goes a man of culture verse, who holds a sportsman's creed.
There goes a man too vigilant to bow to lust or greed.
There goes a man whose life is spent in service, not in scorn.
There goes a man whose majesty shines like a May time morn.
There goes a man who is a friend to love and duty truth.
There goes a man to help uplift the lives of wholesome youth.
There goes a man with industry and faith at his command.
There goes the best man in or out for he's an Alpha Man.

 

"To Be an Alpha Man"
-By Bro. Fred H Woodruff

To be an Alphaman means more than just to wear a pin;
It requires intrinsic qualities that are developed deep within.

It calls for lasting Brotherhood, a word sometimes used in vain; 
It means an honest devotion, not anticipation of personal gain. 

Fraternity speaks of Brotherly Love, that's something to achieve;
It's more than just a grip of hands, It's an ideal to conceive.

You're proud to be an Alpha, and share Her praises won,
But before you inflate yourself with pride,
ask yourself, honestly, "How much have I done?"

To realize the wealth of personal satisfaction from knowing you've given your all,
To have helped Her cause unfalteringly, when you rally to Her call;
To combine all these qualities, and root them deep within,
The product would be an Alphaman, deserving of his pin.

So take an honest inventory of your character within,
And for every virtue you find missing, try and weave it in.

For a man without these virtues isn't worth a grain of sand.
It's plain to see, it's more than just a pin, that makes an Alphaman.


"The Test of a Man"

-Carlyle Straub

The test of man is the fight that he makes.
The grit that he daily shows.
The way that he stands on his feet.
And takes fate's numerous bumps and blows.

A coward can smile,
When there’s naught to fear.
When nothing, his progress bars.
But it takes a man to stand and cheer.
While the other fellow stars.

It isn’t the victory after all,
But, the fight that a brother makes.
A man who, driven against the wall,
Still stands erect and
takes the blows of fate.

With his head held high.
Bleeding and bruised and pale,
Is the man who'll win and fate defy,
For he isn’t afraid to fail.

It's the hurdles you mount and the breaks you get,
And the shocks your courage stands;
The hour of sorrow and vain regret,
For the prize that escapes your hands,
That test your mettle and prove your worth;
It isn't the blows you deal
But the blows you take on this good old earth,
That show if your stuff is real.


"He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother"
-By Bro. Freeman Montague, Jr.

Our family trees are not the same; we both have a different mother
And yet I’d proudly tell the world that this man is my brother.
It’s like we’ve lived our lives together, though we meet for the first time.
As this powerful sense of brotherhood makes everything seem fine.
Spectators stand and look with awe as we do our secret shake.
Never realizing that this clasping of hands DOES NOT a brother make.

We are brothers in a deeper sense than they can comprehend.
For when our bond has just begun, theirs is about to end.
When we were searching for the light, as all Sphinxmen must do.
They stood aside and laughed out loud and said “I wouldn’t do that, would you?”
And yet when we had crossed those sands, and the light we could finally see.
They stood aside and whispered softly Oh how I wish it were me!

I know the decision I made was wise, of this I’m sure and have no doubt.
Each day in my life will have blue skies for I’m an ALPHA from here on out.
And never again will I be lonely for I have brothers everywhere.
In cities of population two, I even have a brother there.

There is nothing in this whole wide world that we wouldn’t do for one another.
I’m sure I’d even give my life to save that of my brother.
But there are still those in darkness who cannot understand
why I share the burden which belongs to another man

When asked “Why weigh yourself down with the load of another?”
I simply smile at them and say,
He ain’t heavy, He’s my Brother!!!


"Brother's Keeper"
-By Dr. Richard T. James, Jr.

A special bond among black college men.
We reflect an ideal,
Ignite a spark and unfold a dream,
That becomes reality.

Servants to our race,
To our community,
Ourselves and others.

A fraternal body whose purpose,
Represents a lifetime of commitment.
Sacrifice.

We are leaders.
Our determination to uplift others.
Who will one day stand on our shoulders,
Creating new paths and reaching even higher,
Toward the unknown.

A spirit of cohesiveness.
A single thought.
One mind.

We are made of the past,
Represent the present,
Create the future.

We are the guardians,
Of that which we cherish dearly.
Rebirth.

We are our “Brother’s Keeper.”


"House of Alpha"
-By Bro. Sidney P. Brown

GOODWILL is the monarch of this house
Men, unacquainted, enter, shake hands,
exchange greetings, and depart friends.
Cordiality exists among all who abide within.

I am the eminent expression of friendship.
Character and temperament change under my dominant power.
Lives, once touched by me become tuned,
and are thereafter, amiable, kindly, fraternal.

I inspire the musician to play noble sentiments,
and assist the chemist to convert ungenerous personalities
into individuals of great worth.
I destroy all ignoble impulses.
I constantly invoke principles which make for common brotherhood,
and the echo resounds in all communities,
and princely men are thereby recognized.

Education, health, music, encouragement, sympathy, laughter:
All these are species of interest given of self-invested capital.
Tired moments find me a delightful treat,
Hours of sorrow a shrine of understanding,
At all times I am faithful to the creed of companionship.

To a few I am the Castle of Dreams,
Ambitious, successful, hopeful dreams.
To many, I am the Poetic Palace
where human feeling is rhymed to celestial motives.
To the great majority,
I am the Treasury of Good Fellowship.

In fact, I am the College of Friendship;
The University of Brotherly Love;
The School for the Better Making of Men.

I AM ALPHA PHI ALPHA!

"Don't Quit"
-By Clinton Howell

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low, and the debts are high,
and you want to smile, but you have to sigh.
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.

Life is queer with its twist and turns
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow,
You may succeed with another blow.

Success is failure turned inside out,
the silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
and you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far;
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit,
It’s when things seem worst, that you must not quit.

"The Plough"
-Author Unknown-

MY HAND IS ON THE PLOUGH, MY FAULTERING HAND,
AND ALL THIS BEFORE ME, IS UN-TILT LAND.

THE WILDERNESS, IN IT’S SOLITARY PLACE.
THE LONELY DESERT WITH IT’S INNER SPACE.

THE HANDLE OF MY PLOUGH WITH TEARS GETS WET,
THE SHEARS WITH RUST ARE SPOILED.

AND YET, AND YET, MY GOD, MY GOD
KEEP ME FROM TURNING BACK

THE PLOUGH.


“The Man Who Thinks He Can”
-Author Unknown-

If you think you’re beaten, you are.
If you think you dare not, you don’t.
If you’d like to win, but think you can’t,
It’s almost a cinch you won’t.

If you think you’ll lose, you’ve lost.
For out in the world we find,
Success begins with a fellow’s will,
It’s all a state of mind.

If you think you’re out-classed, you are;
You’ve got to think high to rise.
You’ve got to be sure of yourself,
If you ever want to obtain a prize.

Life’s battles does not always go,
To the stronger or faster man.
But, soon or late, the man who wins,
IS THE MAN WHO THINKS HE CAN!!!


"It Is Not the Critic Who Counts"

-By President Theodore Roosevelt


"It is not the critic who counts,
not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles,
or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena,
whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood,
who strives valiantly,
who errs,
who comes short again and again,
because there is no effort without error and shortcoming;
but who does actually strive to do the deeds;
who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions;
who spends himself in a worthy cause;
who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement,
and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly,
so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls,
who neither know victory nor defeat.”
 
The Essence of an Alpha Man
When you can achieve and not make achievements your goal,
When you can accept praise but remain mindful of your failings, too,
When you can strive to make the dream a reality by deeds
and not hollow words,

When you can give of yourself freely and cheerfully
and not grudgingly nor of necessity,
When servants of all is a privilege and not a task,
When “transcending all” means “first of all”, transcending self, and realizing that I, First help my brother to transcend, if I am to transcend.

When you can do not only a good thing but also the right thing.
When you can extend a helping hand to friend or foe alike and expect nothing in return, And never remind them of the deed,
When you can cherish and respect the past,
but neither live in it nor rest upon it.

When you can dare to choose the road less traveled,
and lead the pack and not run with the herd.
When our courage of character
will not allow us to remain silent in the face of injustice to anyone.
When the love of our mothers and the strength of our fathers hold us
and guide us to our true calling.

When you can light candles rather than curse the darkness.
When you can view obstacles as challenges.
When your only weapon against lies shall be an uncompromising truth.
This is the essence of an Alpha man.

Adrian L. Wallace
30th General President

.
"See It Through"
-By Edgar Albert Guest


When you’re up against a trouble,
    Meet it squarely, face to face;
Lift your chin and set your shoulders,
    Plant your feet and take a brace.
When it’s vain to try to dodge it,
    Do the best that you can do;
You may fail, but you may conquer,
    See it through!

Black may be the clouds about you
    And your future may seem grim,
But don’t let your nerve desert you;
    Keep yourself in fighting trim.
If the worst is bound to happen,
    Spite of all that you can do,
Running from it will not save you,
    See it through!

Even hope may seem but futile,
    When with troubles you’re beset,
But remember you are facing
    Just what other men have met.
You may fail, but fall still fighting;
    Don’t give up, whate’er you do;
Eyes front, head high to the finish.
    See it through!
.
"ANYWAY"
- Dr. Kent M. Keith

People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered,
Love them anyway.

If you do good people will accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives,
Do good anyway.

If you are successful you will win false friends and true enemies,
Succeed anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable,
Be honest and frank anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow,
Do good anyway.

The biggest people with the biggest ideas can be shot down
by the smallest people with the smallest minds,
Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs, but they follow only the top dogs,
Fight for some underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight,
Build anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth,
Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.

There goes an Alpha Man

By Peter Clarke

There goes a man of high impulse, of princely mien and grace.
There goes a man of humble faith, a credit to his race.

There goes a man of conscious vast, with will to reach his goal.
There goes a man of lordly rank of heroes stock and soul.

There goes a man of noble cast whom hardship cannot break.
There goes a man of merit clad, whom duty won't forsake.

There goes a man of culture verse, who holds a sportsman's creed.
There goes a man too vigilant to bow to lust or greed.

There goes a man whose life is spent in service, not in scorn.
There goes a man whose majesty shines like a May time morn.

There goes a man who is a friend to love and duty truth.
There goes a man to help uplift the lives of wholesome youth.

There goes a man with industry and faith at his command.
There goes the best man in or out for he's an Alpha Man.

.
The Things That Haven’t Been Done Before

Edgar Albert Guest

The things that haven’t been done before,
Those are the things to try;
Columbus dreamed of an unknown shore
At the rim of a far-flung sky.

And his heart was bold and his faith was strong
As he ventured in dangers new,
And he paid no heed to the jeering throng
Or the fears of a doubting crew

The many will follow the beaten track
With guideposts on the way.
They live and have lived for ages back
With a chart for every day.

Someone has told them it’s safe to go
On the road he has traveled o’er,

And all they ever strive to know
Are the things that were known before.

A few strike out without map or chart,
Where never a man has been,

From the beaten paths they draw apart
To see what no man has seen.

There are deeds they hunger alone to do;
Though battered and bruised and sore,

They blaze the path for the many, who
Do nothing not done before.

The things that haven’t been done before
Are the tasks worthwhile today;

Are you one of the flock that follows, or
Are one that shall lead the way?

Are you one of the timid souls that quail
At the jeers of the doubting crew,

Or dare you, whether you win or fail,
Strike out for a goal that's new?

.
Are You An Active Brother In Alpha?
Are you an active Brother,
    The kind that would be missed, 
Or are you just contented
    That your name is on the list?

Do you attend the meetings
    And mingle with the flock?
Or do you stay at home or office
    And criticize and knock?

Do you take an active part
    To help the work along
Or are you satisfied to be 
    The kind who "just belongs"?

Do you ever work on committees
    To see there is no trick
Or leave the work to just a few
    And talk about the clique?

So, come to the meetings often,
    And help with hand and heart
Don't be just a member
    But take an active part!

Think this over BROTHER,
    you know right from wrong
So, are you an active Brother,
    or do you just belong?

SPHINX, May 1953, cover page
.
The Man In the Glass
By Peter Dale Winbrow, Sr.

When you get what you want in your struggle for self

And the world makes you king for a day
Just go to the mirror and look at yourself
And see what that man has to say.

For it isn’t your father, or mother, or wife 
Whose judgment upon you must pass
The fellow whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the one staring back from the glass.

He’s the fellow to please – never mind all the rest

For he’s with you, clear to the end
And you’ve passed your most difficult, dangerous test
If the man in the glass is your friend.

You may fool the whole world down the pathway of years
And get pats on the back as you pass
But your final reward will be heartache and tears
If you’ve cheated the man in the glass.
.

Lend a Hand
Edward Everett Hale

I am only one,
But still I am one.
I cannot do everything,
But still I can do something;
And because I cannot do everything,
I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.

.
.
Only Just a Minute
Dr. Benjamin Mays

I have only just a minute.
Only sixty seconds in it.
Didn't seek it, didn't choose it.
But, it's up to me to use it.
I must suffer if I lose it.
Give account if I abuse it.
Just a tiny little minute,
but eternity is in it

.
The House by the Side of the Roade
Sam Walter Foss

There are hermit
souls that live withdrawn
In the peace of their self-content;
There are souls, like stars, that dwell apart,
In a fellowless firmament;
There are pioneer souls that blaze their paths
Where highways never ran;-
But let me live by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

Let me live in a house
by the side of the road,
Where the race of men go by-
The men who are good and the men who are bad,
As good and as bad as I.
I would not sit in the scorner’s seat,
Or hurl the cynic’s ban;-
Let me live in a house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

I see from my house
by the side of the road,
By the side of the highway of life,
The men who press with the ardor of hope,
The men who are faint with the strife.
But I turn not away from their smiles nor their tears-
Both parts of an infinite plan;-
Let me live in my house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

I know there are brook-gladdened
meadows ahead
And mountains of wearisome height;
That the road passes on through the long afternoon
And stretches away to the night.
But still I rejoice when the travelers rejoice,
And weep with the strangers that moan,
Nor live in my house by the side of the road
Like a man who dwells alone.

Let me live in my
house by the side of the road
Where the race of men go by-
They are good, they are bad, they are weak, they are strong,
Wise, foolish- so am I.
Then why should I sit in the scorner’s seat
Or hurl the cynic’s ban?-
Let me live in my house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.


The Bridge Builder
Will Allen Dromgoole 

An old man going a lone highway 
came at the evening, cold and gray, 
to a chasm vast and wide and steep, 
with waters rolling cold and deep. 
The old man crossed in twilight dim, 
the sullen stream had no fears for him; 
but he turned when safe on the other side, 
and built a bridge to span the tide. 

"Old man " said a fellow pilgrim near; 
you are wasting your strength with building here. 
Your journey will end with the ending day; 
you never again will pass- this way. 
You've crossed the chasm, deep and wide, 
"Why build you this bridge at eventide?" 

The builder lifted his old gray head. 
"Good friend, in the path I have come," he said. 
"There followeth after me today 
a youth whose feet must pass this way. 
The chasm that was as naught to me 
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be; 
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim- 
Good friend, I am building this bridge for him."



Thanatopsis
William Cullen Bryant
To him who in the love of Nature holds 
Communion with her visible forms, she speaks 
A various language; for his gayer hours 
She has a voice of gladness, and a smile 
And eloquence of beauty, and she glides 
Into his darker musings, with a mild 
And healing sympathy, that steals away 
Their sharpness, ere he is aware. When thoughts 
Of the last bitter hour come like a blight 
Over thy spirit, and sad images 
Of the stern agony, and shroud, and pall, 
And breathless darkness, and the narrow house, 
Make thee to shudder, and grow sick at heart;— 
Go forth, under the open sky, and list 
To Nature’s teachings, while from all around— 
Earth and her waters, and the depths of air,— 
Comes a still voice—Yet a few days, and thee 
The all-beholding sun shall see no more 
In all his course; nor yet in the cold ground, 
Where thy pale form was laid, with many tears, 
Nor in the embrace of ocean, shall exist 
Thy image. Earth, that nourished thee, shall claim 
Thy growth, to be resolved to earth again; 
And, lost each human trace, surrendering up 
Thine individual being, shalt thou go 
To mix forever with the elements, 
To be a brother to the insensible rock 
And to the sluggish clod, which the rude swain 
Turns with his share, and treads upon. The oak 
Shall send his roots abroad, and pierce thy mould.
 
   Yet not to thy eternal resting place 
Shalt thou retire alone, nor couldst thou wish 
Couch more magnificent. Thou shalt lie down
With patriarchs of the infant world—with kings, 
The powerful of the earth—the wise, the good, 
Fair forms, and hoary seers of ages past, 
All in one mighty sepulchre. The hills 
Rock-ribbed and ancient as the sun,—the vales 
Stretching in pensive quietness between; 
The venerable woods—rivers that move 
In majesty, and the complaining brooks 
That make the meadows green; and poured round all, 
Old ocean’s grey and melancholy waste,— 
Are but the solemn decorations all 
Of the great tomb of man. The golden sun, 
The planets, all the infinite host of heaven, 
Are shining on the sad abodes of death, 
Through the still lapse of ages. All that tread 
The globe are but a handful to the tribes 
That slumber in its bosom.—Take the wings 
Of morning—and the Barcan wilderness, 
Or lose thyself in the continuous woods 
Where rolls the Oregan, and hears no sound, 
Save his own dashings—yet the dead are there:
And millions in those solitudes, since first 
The flight of years began, have laid them down 
In their last sleep—the dead reign there alone.— 
So shalt thou rest, and what if thou withdraw 
In silence from the living, and no friend 
Take note of thy departure? All that breathe 
Will share thy destiny. The gay will laugh 
When thou art gone, the solemn brood of care 
Plod on, and each one as before will chase 
His favourite phantom; yet all these shall leave 
Their mirth and their employments, and shall come, 
And make their bed with thee. As the long train 
Of ages glides away, the sons of men, 
The youth in life’s fresh spring, and he who goes 
In the full strength of years, matron, and maid, 
The speechless babe, and the gray-headed man,—  
Shall one by one be gathered to thy side, 
By those, who in their turn shall follow them. 

   So live, that when thy summons comes to join 
The innumerable caravan, that moves 
To that mysterious realm, where each shall take 
His chamber in the silent halls of death, 
Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night, 
Scourged to his dungeon, but sustained and soothed 
By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave, 
Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch 
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.