The Gift Givers
Six of us gathered together;
we were eager to honor a friend.
For something of gold or of silver
we were wiling our money to spend.
We were anxious to give him a token,
a watch or a pin or a ring,
as a permanent symbol of friendship,
but no one could think of a thing
which he needed or said that he wanted;
no gift which our love could supply,
which already his purse hadn’t purchased,
and better than what we might buy.
A dinner? He dines on the finest!
A watch? He now carries the best!
Already we knew him provided
with all that our minds could suggest.
So we gave up the thought of a token,
and sent him a feebly drawn scroll
as a mark of our lasting affection
which his children might someday unroll.
But I couldn’t help thinking that evening:
the happiest mortals who live
are those who have left to their friendships
just something or other to give.
The joy or surprise and the gladness
of owning a gift from a friend
are thrills that can never be purchased
though millions a rich man may spend.
And there is a rapture in giving
which friendship is eager to know,
for love and affection seek ever
some token of worth to bestow.
Though all men are toiling for riches,
may it never be said while I live
I furnished my life so completely
that friends could find nothing to give.
From his book, Collected Verse of Edgar A Guest
© 1934 by The Reilly & Lee Company