I ( Benney) first saw the poem Kisses Kept Are Wasted published in the newspaper supplement called (I believe) The Family Weekly, 50 or more years ago as I recall. It was supposedly Annette Funicello – of Mousketeer Fame – ‘s favorite poem. At any rate the poem struck me and it was one of the very few poems I could recite from memory for many years.
Cooke, the author, was an American poet; born June 5th, 1866, in Port Denver, Ontario, Canada, and died December 13, 1932, in Cleveland, Ohio. He started working at an early age (13 or 14) at a factory called the White Sewing Machine Company. He stayed there for almost fourteen years until, in 1893, he became a self-employed poet, writer, and public speaker . His first book of poems, A Patch of Pansies, came out the next year. Four years later, he married Lilith Castleberry; and they had five children. He published at least sixteen books of poetry and numerous children’s books, but he is probably best known for his poem “How Did You Die?”
Personally, I still prefer “Kisses kept…”, but in the interest of fairness (and because it is a good poem), we’ll also print his more famous poem (first published in 1903).