Fifty Dollars
Author: Mark Spencer


To know somebody's character,
It will not cost a lot.
Simply loan them fifty dollars,
And that will set the plot.

If a friend has integrity,
He'll pay back what he owes.
But those who have no principles,
This lesson will expose.

One's word defines his character,
Beyond what we can see,
While character defines the man,
And his integrity.

I could take anything you have,
Your pride, your dignity;
I could take everything you own,
Your job and property.

And I could take your family,
Your children and your wife.
Perhaps I'd take your chastity,
Before I took your life.

But the one thing I cannot take,
For it is yours alone,
That thing is your integrity,
It's all you truly own.

But some will toss it on the fire,
And turn it into ash.
Others bargain with the devil,
To gain a little cash.

You can read a person's essence,
Like sages or scholars.
And you can even own their soul
For just fifty dollars.


Comments on this poem/writing:

Colin ( -- Saturday, December 12 2009, 05:32 pm

"and you can even own their soul......

"and you can even own their soul - for just fifty dollars ..." ..... and if you shop at Wal*Mart
that equates to $49.47!!!!!
You make me THINK Mister Spencer ... and that's a very good thing indeed!!!!
Megan ( -- Monday, December 14 2009, 01:40 am

This is a bitter pill for me.

I've done this. I still owe my mom money. Maybe it's karma that I've loaned money to friends and never got it back.
Mark Spencer ( -- Wednesday, December 16 2009, 10:34 pm

Most people don't know what a friend is.

People are too quick to call someone friend. This is usually caused by our own insecurities. Apparently we need companionship, and significant others, to validate ourselves. This explains why we call strangers friend, or lover, and why we are so quick to make marriage vows, when we do not intend to keep them. You see, no matter how many people we surround ourselves with; we will always be completely alone. We can only see through one set of eyes, walk in one pair of shoes, think with one mind, and feel with one heart. No one will EVER see through your eyes, and so they will never truly understand you. They will never understand how you feel, or think, and likewise, you will never truly understand them.
Mark Spencer ( -- Wednesday, December 16 2009, 10:37 pm

Most people don't know what a friend is. Part II

No matter what we do, it all serves the individual doing it, to some degree. In this pursuit, only a small percentage maintains any measure of integrity. If someone ever tells you that they have never compromised their integrity, they are most certainly lying, and fifty dollars will easily prove that. At some point in everyone's life they will fail the fifty dollar test. Those that do are not friend material. It's when, or rather if, they pass this test, that they have learned the value of honor. Even then, such integrity may only last a short time. Be careful who you let get close to you. Friendship is a gift, one that should be earned. No one values something they don't have to work for. This is true of friends, and it is also true of lovers.
Meridian ( -- Wednesday, December 16 2009, 11:50 pm

Wholeheartedly agree

My mom had to tell me the meaning of a friend, which is someone you hang out with and not someone you see when you see them. If I told the people I know, who consider me a friend, that we aren't really friends, they couldn't handle me saying that. We as people can get easily offended, and overly sensitive, when the speaker giving the message means no harm. Sometimes, I know it's best not to say anything regarding the above in this comment, because the speaker will most often than not, get misunderstood.
Meridian ( -- Wednesday, December 16 2009, 11:50 pm

Wholeheartedly agree 2

I crave wisdom and pray for it. In situations like these, it's best that the speaker refrains from speaking on the meaning of what friendship is, rather than allowing the conversation to escalate into a confrontation (all because the listener misconstrues, takes what is said out of context, will ultimately give misinformation to their friends about what was said, is not mature enough or strong enough to handle what's being said).

I guess some people get offended at this kind of talk because it's too direct, instead of round-a-bout; although the tone is calm and the personality of the speaker, polite and courteous.
Mark Spencer ( -- Thursday, December 17 2009, 02:57 am

Silence only perpetuates the lie.

It is truly sad that we are so self defeating, or self absorbed that we cannot be as we should be. And what we should be is self reflective. Zoroaster explained that two roads stretched out before us. One road was that of truth, the other was paved with lies. The bible also speaks of these roads as the narrow and wide roads. Truth is absolute, it simply “is.” Lies, on the other hand, are paint or varnish, intended to hide the truth. In the end, all that remains is truth, and either now or then, people will eventually have to face it. Patting them on the head and telling them the lie is okay, isn’t actually in anyone’s best interests.
Mark Spencer ( -- Thursday, December 17 2009, 02:58 am

Silence only perpetuates the lie II

Those the truth offends are usually comfortable in the lie, and lies are nothing but illusions. If one immerses himself in the lie, is he not also…just an illusion? How is keeping this to one’s self the act of a true friend? And if we allow the lie to prevail, for fear of offending others with the truth, are we serving the truth…or the lie? Have we allowed the lie to convince us that truth is nothing more than petty judgment? Judgments are often made without the benefit of facts. Truth is a statement of fact without the need for judgment. Those who feel judged by the truth are usually guilty. Who do we become when we’re too afraid to stand by the truth?
Meridian ( -- Thursday, December 17 2009, 03:28 am

I don't know

Since I usually roll with my stuffed animals, I don't know. I don't really hang out with anyone, with the exception of one. This is like a debate, and is usually not the topic of discussion in a normal conversation. But, if I were to ask myself, is so-and-so really a friend to me? I'd have to think hard, long and be honest with myself. Right now, my answer would be an uncertain yes. Some things we have in common, some things we don't. Our religion is the same, but our perceptions on things and interpretations of scripture can sometimes be different. Still, the question for me to answer is: are we friends or just hanging buddies? You're right. The truth stings.
Meridian ( -- Thursday, December 17 2009, 03:29 am


All I can truly say is I love so-and-so. We share more than we don't share; especially on an emotional level. We buy each other's dinner, shop. Neither of us have been stabbed in the torso by the other. We're honest to each other and we can trust each other. We've known each other for so long. Were we eight or nine when we met? It's been so long ago.

But, I like that all your poems force the reader to think, and it's working. It took me about 20 minutes to type this text, when it normally takes me about 2-5 minutes.
Mark Spencer ( -- Thursday, December 17 2009, 04:29 am

There's a reason for that.

Conversations like this one force me to think on what is true and what is false. People like you,
Meridian, are my muses. You help me stay on the path. For that, I am grateful. God bless.
Meridian ( -- Thursday, December 17 2009, 06:40 am


Thanks, and God bless you too.
barb ( -- Friday, December 18 2009, 01:35 am

holy very good

I like the way you observe things. And see tghings the way they are.
Pamela ( -- Saturday, December 19 2009, 07:40 pm


I love that ending! It hits you like a ton of bricks......
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