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Oyster Poem

"The Tale Of The Oyster"

I was recently flipping through my grandmother, Edit Dewey’s, book “Basic Applications of Adlerian Psychology For Self-Understanding and Human Relationships” when I came upon a poem which she loved so much that she included it in her book. She used to recite this poem from memory to me and my brothers as we were growing up. I wanted to share it with you since it has a nice New Year’s message to it too:


The Tale of The Oyster

There once was an oyster whose story I’ll tell

Who found that some sand had got into his shell.

Just one little grain, but it gave him such pain.

Now did he berate the working of fate

That brought him to such a deplorable state?

Did he curse the government, call that the sea

Should give him protection?

“No,” he said to himself as he lay on the shelf

“Since I cannot remove it, I’ll try to improve it.”

The years rolled by as the years always do

And he came to his ultimate destiny – stew.

And the grain of sand that bothered him so

Was a beautiful pearl, all richly aglow.

Now this tale has a moral, for isn’t it grand

What an oyster can do with a morsel of sand?

What couldn’t we do if we’d only begin

Improving the things that get under our skin?


What a great reminder to challenge ourselves with the task of making those distasteful things in our life better! Too often, we take the easy route, feeling it’s not OUR job to improve matters. WE didn’t ask for such burdens, this is not OUR problem to fix. Such attitudes keep us feeling that grain of sand scratching away at our lives.

Instead, lets acknowledge that in all situations we have a part to play in changing matters! Be nice to the cranky boss, be kinder to your partner though they don’t yet seem to reciprocate, or love up a kid who is always ruining the family fun.

It’s when we are willing to do our part in improving matters that we’ll discover we can all make pearls too!  Thanks grandma!


About Alyson

Alyson has been blogging parenting advice for over 15 years. She has been a panelist at BlogWest, Blissdom, #140NYC and more. Her content appears on sites across Canada and the US, but you can read all her own blog posts right here.

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3 Responses to “Oyster Poem”

  1. Agnes Supala-Berger

    Love this poem, thank you!

  2. Penny

    There are a couple of missing sentences in your poem according to the way I memorized it 50 years ago. After ‘such pain’, “For oysters have feelings, though they’re all so plain.” And, “ Did he curse the government, or cry for an election, or say that the seas should give him protection?”

    • Alyson Schafer

      Oh!!! That is exciting to learn! I just copied the version she had in her files. Thank you!


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