Improvement

by Edgar Guest

The joy of life is living it
or so it seems to me;
in finding shackles on your wrists,
then struggling till you’re free;

in seeing wrongs and righting them,
in dreaming splendid dreams,
then toiling till the vision is
as real as moving streams.

The happiest mortal on the earth
is he who ends his day
by leaving better than he found
to bloom along the way.

Were all things perfect here there would
be naught for man to do;
if what is old were good enough
we’d never need the new.

The only happy time of rest
is that which follows strife
and sees some contribution made
unto the joy of life.

And he who has oppression felt,
and conquered it, is he
who really knows the happiness
and peace of being free.

The miseries of earth are here
and with them all must cope.
Who seeks for joy, through hedges thick
of care and pain must grope.

Through disappointment man must go
to value pleasure’s thrill;
To really know the joy of health
a man must first be ill.

The wrongs are here for man to right
and happiness is had
by striving to supplant with good
the evil and the bad.

The joy of life is living it
and doing things of worth,
in making bright and fruitful
all the barren spots of earth,

in facing odds and mastering them
and rising from defeat,
and making true what once was false
and what was bitter, sweet.

For only he knows perfect joy
whose little bit of soil
is richer ground than what it was
when he began to toil.

From his book, JUST FOLKS
published 1917 by The Reilly & Britton Co.

Lemon Pie


The world is full of gladness;
there are joys of many kinds;
there’s a cure for every sadness
that each troubled mortal finds.
And my little cares grow lighter
and I cease to fret and sigh,
and my eyes with joy grow brighter
when she makes a lemon pie.

When the bronze is on the filling
that’s one mass of shining gold,
and its molten joy is spilling
on the plate, my heart grows bold.
And the kids and I in chorus
raise one glad exultant cry
and we cheer the treat before us
which is mother’s lemon pie.

Then the little troubles vanish
and the sorrows disappear;
then we find the grit to banish
all the cares that hovered near.
And we smack our lips in pleasure
oe’r a joy no coin can buy
and we down the golden treasure
which is known as lemon pie.
From his book, Collected Verse of Edgar A Guest
© 1934 by The Reilly & Lee Company