I’ve Learned to Look Beyond Myself

Don DeFore and Lizabeth Scott in a promotional...

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As I reflect
on my life it all seems surreal,

Why were
there moments when I did not feel?


I saw a man
crying because he had killed his friend,

Stabbed during
an argument he still didn’t comprehend,

Killed in a
flash because they disagreed,

What should
I tell him, how should he plead?


Why did I
not stop to talk when I saw someone wanting to die?

Was my life
so busy that I just passed by?

She had
given up in total despair,

There was no
way for her life to repair,


She just
wanted her problems to go away,

So she
swallowed some pills one day,

When I found
her she no longer had fears,

It was too
late for conversation,  too late for


Why didn’t I
talk to her when I had the chance,

Let her know
she was important in life’s lonely dance?


When I think
of what I should have done, I stand accused,

I saw
someone who had been abused,

Why wasn’t I
more alert?

Why didn’t  I hurt?


It was not
enough to forgive the abuser on that day,

I should
have insisted that he be put away,

protected those who were innocent and unaware,

Rather than
leave them in his care,


I saw
someone once young and strong,

Now old,
ignored and forgotten for so long,

Her children
were all grown,

Why did they
leave her with no love shown?


She was confused
and needing love’s touch,

If I stopped
by, would it hurt me much?


One of my
neighbors was a longtime user,

Did that
make him forever a loser?

He became
more than a burned out shell,

And escaped
his private hell,

A friend
cared enough to help change his scope,

For all he
needed was a little hope,

I saw
someone with a crippling disease,

Why didn’t I
help, tell me please?

He was begging
on a busy street,

I could have
gotten him food to eat,


There are many
things I could have done,

But I had
decided I’d help no one,

Why didn’t I
reach out?

Why did I


I have a
friend who was laid off from work,

He’s on the
verge of going berserk,

His phone is
ringing off the hook,

Because bill
collectors think he is a crook,


But he has
no money to pay his bills,

He can’t
sleep because dreams give him chills,

Maybe it’s a
sign of the times or stormy weather,

depression is real, we will spend time together,


I’ll let him
know I’m there for him,

A friend is
a friend, through thick or thin,



There was
someone who cheated my heart,

But maybe I
didn’t do my part,

I thought
like a child, I felt pity for me,

I needed to
look beyond myself, but that’s all I could see,


Why didn’t I

My heart knew
I must,

But what
could have been great,

Was destroyed,
I blamed it on fate,


I saw someone who judged me because I didn’t follow the rules,

She was
convinced I was a fool,

I cared too
much for those in the world,

And I cried,
and tried to help as it twirled,


I saw all
these conditions, all these people, yet I didn’t see,

That one of the
negligent ones was me,

Why did I always
seem to hesitate,

When I knew time
was precious and I shouldn’t wait?


Problems in
life might not start with me,

But I will be
compassionate whenever I see,

Those who
are hurting wherever they might be,

I know all problems in life will not end with


But there
are words of comfort and things I can share,

I’ll reach
and touch with tender loving care,

Giving back
to others what I can possibly give,

I must not
wait, for I have a short while to live,


I know I’ll be
vulnerable as I go my way,

There is so
much to do each and every day,

This person
hurts, and that one too,

There may
come a time when I’ll help you,


needs someone when things go wrong,

Moments when
they’re weak, I might be strong,

I don’t want
to spend my life focused on me,

This world
has many needs, you see,


If I help others
sharing my heart’s best,

I believe I’ll
make a difference in all the rest,

intertwined stretching across the land,

and love, walking hand in hand.



18 thoughts on “I’ve Learned to Look Beyond Myself

  1. Thanks for the beautiful message. I have been going through some rough times as well and most of my friends just say “get over it” or the typical platitudes yet I see them raising funds for Haiti, Japan etc….
    For some reason people tend to forget that kindess, compassion and giving are needed close to home as well.

    • Sometimes our own problems keep us from seeing the problems others are having. And you’re right about problems in other countries. I have friends visiting Haiti and Japan, as well as raising funds. They don’t know what is happening around them. But that’s another story. I’m sorry to hear about your tough times. If you ever want to tallk—I’m a good listener.

      May the sun be on your face and the wind at your back as the Lord blesses you throughout the day. Carpe diem!

  2. Thanks Dan. Although it is nice doing such things, but one can’t be blind to home either. This reminds me of the biblical story where the old prophet ignored his kids who went wild while helping others. That is a bad way of doing things. Nice piece and message as usual Dan, thanks 🙂

    • My life hasn’t been easy. I’ve had a generous share of hard knocks throughout life. Maybe that’s so I can sound wise at times. Right now I’m going through rough times again. Wheeee. I’m tired of being alone, broke, with a dim future. Writing is most of my pleasure but I’m afraid I’ll run out of ideas.. So what keeps you inspired?

      May the sun be on your face and the wind at your back as the Lord blesses you throughout the day. Carpe diem!

  3. I am sorry to hear that 😦 I feel the same way, 5 years of ups and downs, so many moves, always unsettled. I am tired. I have reached the I really don’t think I can pick up and do this again, craving stability if not some type of certainty. I am inspired by spoken word poetry, the books I read. I guess why most of my poems is about pain though. I write about the pain I hear, see, in order to deal with my own, without giving up, a way of reminding myself I am not alone I guess. Thanks for the kindness and you are wise 🙂

  4. so many crying for help, Dan, and others who need help and don’t say a word. This life is so hard sometimes, so much pain about, and if we could hear others pain we would be deafened by noise it made. Caring and compassion about others is something that’s missing I think, it’s looked on as being soft, as if the people in need have deserved their fate, when all we need to use as a guideline is ” there but for the grace of God go I” … ignoring this rule takes us one step further down the ladder to becoming less of a caring human being and more of a careless human being. xPenx

    • My world has been a little tougher and because of the early hard knocks, the difficult times of raising three children as a single parent, two divorces, three financial crashes, different health problems, etc., I try to be optimistic whatever I think of the odds. That’s one reason I was able to work with and teach inner school children. I could feel much of their pain. In my opinion I did not do enough. There were too many that continued down destructive trails, waiting to kill or be killed. Instead of saying”there but for the grace…….” I say “use my hurts or mistakes to let me reach others, letting them know there is hope”. Too often I focused on me, and did not see, the walking wounded around us, not creating a fuss, just hoping someone would rescue them, for they’re at life’s rim, trying to avoid pain, for it leaves an ugly stain, on their emotions and their hearts, and they feel like they’re being ripped into parts……….I look in the eyes, did I pass someone by, a man, a woman, a child, their emotions running wild, waiting for someone to save the day, a super hero to come their way. The rough times I’ve gone through, the rougher times ahead, instead of waiting for help, I’ll try to help someone instead. Maybe I’m chosen because I’ve learned to work through my challenges, even though slammed to the mat, I get up and face my adversary. I’m not always optimistic. Sometimes I rant and rave, shout to the heavens for mercy, work it out of my system and then say, “What’s next?” People lead lives of quiet desperation. Most try to hide that fact or the fact they have struggled or climbed down the ladder. It’s a cruel world, a needy world, and a beautiful world all at the same time. I’m glad to be part of it. I’m also glad to know people like you, because I see the compassion in your words and know how much you care about animals as well as people.

      May the sun be on your face and the wind at your back as the Lord blesses you throughout the day. Carpe diem!

    • This poem was a reminder to those who already know what to do. But more than that it was a reminder to me. If it’s not written down I forget. You already have compassion. I’ve still got goals to reach. Thanks for your comments and your beautiful art.

      May the sun be on your face and the wind at your back as the Lord blesses you throughout the day. Carpe diem!

  5. A very important message here, Dan. We have no idea how even a sincere smile for someone can change their whole outlook. Our giving can be one of compassion to each other. We all need to feel acknowledged and cared about especially in these stressful times.

    Thanks for a very thoughtful and thought provoking poem.


    • It could be you, it could be me, It could be anyone we see. You’re right, Gayle. As for me I know I can weather some storms but I can’t do it by myself. As I get older I’ve become wiser, knowing that I should do as much as I can, but surround myself with compassionate people. Just like writing, the more I’m around creative people the more I want to create. Thanks for your encouragement. You always have the right things to say.

      May the sun be on your face and the wind at your back as the Lord blesses you throughout the day. Carpe diem!

      • I feel the way you do, Dan. It’s always so much more helpful to have some supportive and compassionate people around us to navigate our way through this world. I appreciate your kind comment for me too.

        And you’re welcome…

  6. Dan, this is a unique and special poem. Everything you say here – and in the comments – could be said about and for all of us. You are just facing the truth head-on. Bravo! That’s the act of a hero.

    Thank for this poem, both a reminder and a gift.

    • I’m glad you like it. Wish I had written, read, and followed it years ago. Thanks for your encouragement.

      May the sun be on your face and the wind at your back as the Lord blesses you throughout the day. Carpe diem!

  7. “everyone should have done it because anyone could. but everyone thought that anyone would, so in the end nobody did anything when everything could have been done by anyone who is everyone.”

  8. Everyone
    needs someone when things go wrong,
    Moments when
    they’re weak, I might be strong,
    I don’t want
    to spend my life focused on me,
    This world
    has many needs, you see,

    Thanks for these lines … Totally love this poem .. nothign we do not know .. but everything we forget from time to time !!

    • Your comments are always encouraging and to the point. Thanks. I appreciate your visits.

      May the sun be on your face and the wind at your back as the Lord blesses you throughout the day. Carpe diem!

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