Be the Best of Whatever You Are - (2009)
medium or low voice and piano
you can't be a pine on the top of the hill,
Be a scrub in the valley — but be
The best little scrub by the side of the rill;
Be a bush if you can't be a tree.
If you can't be a bush be a bit of the grass,
And some highway happier make;
If you can't be a muskie then just be a bass —
But the liveliest bass in the lake!
We can't all be captains, we've got to be crew,
There's something for all of us here,
There's big work to do, and there's lesser to do,
And the task you must do is the near.
If you can't be a highway then just be a trail,
If you can't be the sun be a star;
It isn't by size that you win or you fail —
Be the best of whatever you are!
pages, circa 2' 00" ]
Douglas Malloch (1877-1938) was an American poet, short story writer, and
associate editor of American Lumberman, an adventure magazine
connected with Edgar Rice Burroughs. Some have commented that his philosophy
was one of "contentment." Some of his often cited comments echo with wisdom
today and reflect that life philosophy of contentment, being satisfied with
one's lot in life: "The biggest liar in the world is They say," which
comments hugely on the "unnamed source" and "experts" mentioned in the daily
news today, and "Courage is to feel the daily daggers of relentless steel
and keep on living," which reflects the simple advice, "persevere." His
wife, Helen Miller Malloch, was a newswoman who gained fame in her own right
as founder of the National Association of Presswomen.
pedal tonic as found in the upper voice in the accompaniment stands out
against the moving harmony of the vocal and bass lines, a metaphor for
constancy in the things of life as per the above thumbnail sketch. It is a
simple song form, AABA, with a quixotic secco accompaniment also
representing life's brittleness, with a melody line meant to be reminiscent
of that folksy Americana which Malloch represents so well.
The score is available as a free PDF download, though any major
commercial performance or recording of the work is prohibited without prior
arrangement with the composer. Click on the graphic below for this
Be the Best of Whatever You Are