That’s Success Meaning by Berton Braley: 2022

About the Poet – BertonBraley, an American poet, born in 29 January 1882 – 23 January 1966, in Madison, Wisconsin was the son of Arthur B. Braley, a judge who died when was seven years old. He quit high school at 16 and started working as a factory hand at a plow plant. After a few years, Braley returned to school and completed his high school diploma. Soon he discovered Tom Hood’s poetry instructional book The Rhymeste, which shaped his poetic mind to an extent.

His first published piece was at the age of 11 when a small publication printed a fairy tale he wrote. He was a creative writer, with verses in many magazines, including Coal Age, American Machinist, Forbes Magazine, Saturday Evening Post among others. He published twenty books, more than half of them were poetry collections revealing plainly his inclination towards the form of poetry.

In 1917, John Sousa composed and titled Wisconsin Forward Forever, a marching song for the University of Winsconsin, with lyrics by BertonBraley. In 1934, Braley published the autobiographical Pegasus Pulls a Hack: Memoirs of a Modern Minstrel. Among all his works, the poem “Do It Now” became widely reprinted after 1915. The poem was also set as a hymn in Presbyterian hymnbooks and sung by glee clubs.

About the Poem

“That’s Success”, a poem by BertonBraley, is an immensely inspiring poem, that sums up what real success is in a nutshell so profoundly, that one cannot help but re-read it many a times to gauge the magnanimity of the message within. The poem is an important note to the self, where elements of success, small but of greater importance, mostly forgotten, are itinerated.  It comes across as a guide to tread on a path that would help build up one s self esteem, leaving him satisfied at the last day of his life, knowing he had a successful life. To this date, the poem remains relatable, for its universal quality, having successfully captured the essence of human life, elucidating the tugs one inevitably feels towards different elements throughout life and inspite of it all how the definition of true success remains the same.

Setting of the Poem

“That’s success” by BertonBraley is anarresting poem with a microcosmic setting of life, exposing the macrocosmic designs of the universe. In this poem, the poet presents the readers with time frame of human life. The proceedings of the poem circles around all that one s supposed to take note of in the quest of success in life, as those are the elements one overlooks, mistaking materialistic gains to be success. The mood of the poem is of utmost positivity and enthusiasm, as the poet is seen urging one and all to continue in the journey of life, remembering all noble acts to be of utmost importance, dusting off failures, walking on with a ‘cheerful grin‘ during the tryst with obstacles – that’s  a part of living. The poet successfully creates within his poem the stage of life as its setting, with a disposition of travelling along the path of it with optimism.

Annotations Stanza-Wise

1st Stanza:

just : righteousness, equitableness, or moral rightness: to uphold the justice of a cause
being true : being sincere
aim : goal

2nd Stanza:

figuring : working out something

3rd Stanza:

thorough : complete with regard to every detail; not superficial or partial.

Blithely: Lacking or showing a lack of due concern

4th Stanza:

staunchly: firm or steadfast in principle, adherence, loyalty

5th Stanza:

struggling: make forceful or violent efforts to get free of restraint or constriction.
cheerful: noticeably happy and optimistic

6th Stanza:

striving: make great efforts to achieve or obtain something.
noblest: fine personal qualities or high moral principles.

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