Inspiring Verse

I wonder if this verse was Mr Guest’s answer to Rudyard Kipling’s famous verse, IF? Read IF here.

DUTY

by Edgar Guest

To do your little bit of toil,
to play life’s game with head erect;
to stoop to nothing that would soil
your honor or your self-respect;
to win what gold and fame you can,
but first of all to be a man.

To know the bitter and the sweet,
the sunshine and the days of rain;
to meet both victory and defeat,
nor boast too loudly nor complain;
to face whatever fates befall
and be a man throughout it all.

To seek success in honest strife
but not to value it so much
that, winning it, you go through life
stained by dishonor’s scarlet touch.
What goal or dream you choose, pursue,
but be a man whatever you do!

From his book, Collected Verse of Edgar A Guest
© 1934 by The Reilly & Lee Company

How to Be Cheerful

There are some game plans that sound totally illogical and backwards, but actually work. 🙂

How to Be Cheerful

by Edgar Guest

How to be cheerful, do you say,
when the wind is cold and the skies are gray?
How to be cheerful? Just one way:
forget yourself for awhile today.

Never mind self and your irksome cares.
Somebody else greater burden bears.
Stretch out a helping hand and play
the friend to all who may chance your way.

You’ll never be cheerful sitting there
sorrowing over the hurts you bear,
for never a joyous hour is known
by the man who thinks of himself alone.

How to be cheerful? Scatter cheer;
share your life with your neighbors here;
encourage the weary and comfort the sad*
and you’ll find more joy than you’ve ever had.

From his book, The Collected Works of Edgar A Guest
© 1934 by the Reilly & Lee company

*You may have to do this by phone until Covid-19 has been banished. 🙂

Frame by Free-creative at Pixabay

Contributing to the Future

Destiny

By Edgar Guest

Who knows what lies behind us all
that we who live today
might train a rose along a wall
or watch our children play?

We cannot mark each deed or thought
in some long-vanished year
by which the present earth was wrought
for us to labor here.

But all we find along our way
to times by-gone we owe;
the world is as it is today
because men made it so.

And since today must be the sum
of all that was before,
our lives may hold what is to come
when we shall be no more.

Blindly perforce the road we tread
and cope with good and ill
that one a thousand years ahead
his little place may fill.

So strangely is God’s purpose planned
that none of us can see
into the great uncharted land
which men call DESTINY.

No we are here, and know not why;
the end, no man can say.
The answer to our lives may lie
long centuries away.

From his book, Collected Verse of Edgar A Guest
© 1934 by The Reilly & Lee Company

Although I won’t promise this old world will stand “long centuries” more, there’s still a valuable sentiment in these lines.

Staircase image by jplenio — Pixabay

Old Man Green

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is WHAT THE EYES DON’T SEE

As I considered a response, three different illustrations came to mind:

–Jesus describes the work of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter who would come from the Father and guide the disciples after He was gone. The Spirit is like the wind, He told them: you hear the sound, and see the effects of wind, but never SEE the wind. Likewise, the Holy Spirit is a gentle force or voice working to urge, guide, and reprove people. You will see the effects of his work, the changes in people’s lives, but the Holy Spirit itself is never visible.

–I also thought of a story I was working on a few days ago, a tale of political “sleight of hand.” How to manipulate evidence so as to make a dastardly deed look like the other guy’s fault. The Boston Tea Party, for example. Maybe I’ll finish it and post it later today.

And then I thought of some of the people Edgar Guest describes, folks who demonstrate the real values of life, like Old Man Green and old Blake here.

THE HOMELY MAN

 Looks as though a cyclone hit him — 
 can’t buy clothes that seem to fit him
 and his cheeks are rough like leather,
 made for standin’ any weather.
 Outwards he was fashioned plainly
 loose of joint and blamed ungainly,
 but I’d give a lot of I’d
 been built half as fine inside.
 
Best thing I can tell you of him
 is the way the children love him.
 Now and then I get to thinkin’
 that he’s much like old Abe Lincoln.
 Homely like a gargoyle graven —
 worse than that when he’s unshaven;
 but I’d take his ugly phiz
 just to have a heart like his.

 I ain’t over-sentimental,
 but old Blake is so blamed gentle
 and so thoughtful-like of others;
 he reminds us of our mothers.
 Rough roads he is always smoothin’
 and his way is, oh, so soothin’,
 that he takes away the sting
 when your heart is sorrowing.

 Children gather round about him
 like they can’t get on without him.
 And the old depend upon him 
 pilin’ on their burdens on him,
 like as though the thing that grieves ‘em
 has been lifted when he leaves ‘em.
 Homely? That can’t be denied —
 but he’s glorious inside.

 From his book, Collected Verse of Edgar A. Guest,
 ©1934 by the Reilly & Lee Co

See It Through

By Edgar A Guest

When you’re up against a trouble,
Meet it squarely, face to face;
Lift your chin and set your shoulders,
Plant your feet and take a brace.
When it’s vain to try to dodge it,
Do the best that you can do;
You may fail, but you may conquer,
See it through!

Black may be the clouds about you
And your future may seem grim,
But don’t let your nerve desert you;
Keep yourself in fighting trim.
If the worst is bound to happen,
Spite of all that you can do,
Running from it will not save you,
See it through!

Even hope may seem but futile,
When with troubles you’re beset,
But remember you are facing
Just what other men have met.
You may fail, but fall still fighting;
Don’t give up, whate’er you do;
Eyes front, head high to the finish.
See it through!

Happy Thanksgiving!

To all my American readers, wherever you happen to be. I hope your day is filled with joy, family and/or memories of great times together, gratitude and hope.

Your homeland is a bountiful one, with many opportunities for an ambitious person to make a fair living. So many people the world over dream of the freedom and prosperity Americans enjoy and would give a lot to be there.

You also have an amazing pool of talent; Americans have produced marvelous inventions, written great stories and verses. Here’s a verse from one of my favorite old-time poets, Edgar Guest. With his thousands of home-spun verses about everyday things, he was known as “the poet of the American people” and “the bard of America’s hopes and dreams.”

The Brighter Side

Though life has its trouble and life has its care
and often its dark days of sorrow,
there is always the hope that the sky will be fair
and the heart will be happy tomorrow.

There’s always the light of a goal just ahead,
a glimpse of the dream we’re pursuing,
in spite of the difficult pathway we tread
there is much it is good to be doing.

Time empties the purse of the pennies of youth,
the heart of its innocent laughter,
but gives in return just a few grains of truth
and the promise of more to come after.

There’s never a new day lived out to the end,
however life’s tempests may pitch us,
but what with a triumph, a joy, or a friend,
the swift, fleeting hours may enrich us.

There is so much to do and there’s so much to see
in spite of the troubles that fret us,
so much to wait for and so much to be
if only the future will let us —

that life with its burdens and life with its tears
and its heart-burning touches of sadness
still lures us all on to the end of our years
with its friendships, its loves, and its gladness.

From the book, Collected Verse of Edgar A. Guest,
©1934 by the Reilly & Lee Co