Circus Memories

by Edgar A Guest

Oh, never comes the circus with its wonders into town
but I recall a little boy who longed to be a clown,
and high above the heads of all an acrobat I see
that little lad of long ago was hopeful he would be.

No care had he for words that rhyme. A more entrancing thing
was jumping on and off a horse within a sawdust ring.
And all the verses ever penned he’d gladly trade back then
to be the spangled hero in the roaring lions’ den.

There was a riding lady in a fluffy skirt of pink
who might have lured this little boy away from printer’s ink,
but destiny or fortune or the fates – or was it Dad? –
contrived to change the life-work of this circus-dreaming lad.

He would not now retrace his steps. Through eyes now growing dim
he sees an acrobat’s career would not have done for him.
But still when bands are playing and the circus barkers shout
a little boy of fifty-one walks wide-eyed round about.

From his book, Along Life’s Highway
©1933 by the Reilly & Lee Company

My response to the Word of the Day Challenge: REJUVENATE

A Man She’s Not Keen On

Deer heads

TROPHIES
by Edgar Guest

There’s a moose head in the hall,
and a dead fish on the wall,
a stuffed owl on the mantelpiece,
and birds in a shining case.
There’s an antlered deer upstairs,
and a mounted fox which shares
with a partridge prone at its wily feet
a nice mahogany base.

There’s a maid each morn who must
go round the rooms to dust,
and day by day on her weary face,
there is ever a dismal scowl.
And this is the song she sings:
“Dead deers are dreadful things!
And I hate fish on a shining board
and the wings of a mounted owl!
Fish mounted

“Oh, if ever a man I wed,
may he care for books instead
of moose and mountain goats and deer
and ducks in a glassy dome.
May his hobby be postage stamps
instead of the Northern camps.
For I’ve had my fill of dusting things
which a hunting man brings home.”

Owl head

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

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My response to RAGTAG prompt word for today: KEEN

Boyhood Memory

by Edgar Guest

It used to be fun in the good old days
to rise at the dawn of day
and dig for worms for a fishing trip.
It used to be fun, I say,
for I swear that a robin who hovered near
knew just what we were about,
since he flew to the ground when the earth was turned
and begged us to toss one out.
Yes, it used to be fun to go fishing then,
but Time has rewritten my terms
of what pleasure is — and I never get up
to dig for a can of worms.

We’d sit on the dock and we’d swing our legs
all day in the blazing sun,
and a few small fish on a piece of string
was our ultimate dream of fun.
Then digging for worms was an easy task,
but I tried it a year ago
and the earth seemed hard as a city street
where the streams of traffic flow.
And I’d lost the knack of clutching a thing
that wriggles and twists and squirms,
so I said to myself: “You will never again
go digging at dawn for worms.”

I stuck to the task ‘til my hands grew sore,
I labored and toiled and wrought,
but the worms were scarce and no robins came,
and it wasn’t the fun I thought.
But a small boy said as we walked away:
“I’m wondering, Uncle Ed,
when there’s so much pleasure in getting up,
how can old folks stay in bed?”
I could only answer him this: “My lad,
all experience confirms
the dreadful fact that there comes a time
when it’s labor to dig for worms.”

From Collected Verse of Edgar A. Guest
© 1934 by the Reilly & Lee Company

Some of us who have grown old and stiff are finding that it’s labor to dig for any reason nowadays, though ‘nature’s call’ may still rouse us before dawn. 😉
Happy gardening, everyone.

“Friendship”

I’m happy to say that my visit to the Cancer Clinic yesterday was really encouraging. My white count is about the same as it was back in November, no sign of the leukemia becoming active.

I’m going to take a break from the internet for awhile to catch up with other projects. I’ll schedule some poems to fill in the gap. I trust you’ll find them as inspiring as I do.

Friendship

by Edgar Guest

You do not need a score of men to laugh and sing with you;
you can be rich in comradeship with just a friend or two.
You do not need a monarch’s smile to light your way along;
through weal or woe a friend or two will fill your days with song.

So let the many go their way and let the throng pass by;
the crowd is but a fickle thing which hears not when you sigh.
The multitudes are quick to run in search of favorites new,
and all that man can hold for grief is just a friend or two.

When winds of failure start to blow, you’ll find the throng has gone —
the splendor of a brighter flame will always lure them on;
but with the ashes of your dreams and all you hoped to do
you’ll find that all you really need is just a friend or two.

You cannot know the multitude, however hard you try:
it cannot sit about your hearth; it cannot hear you sigh;
it cannot read the heart of you, or know the hurts you bear;
its cheers are all for happy men and not for those in care.

So let the throng go on its way and let the crowd depart;
but one or two will keep the faith when you are sick at heart;
and rich you’ll be, and comforted, when gray skies hide the blue,
if you can turn and share your grief with just a friend or two.

From the Collected Verse of Edgar A. Guest
© 1934 by the Reilly & Lee Company

Looking on the Bright Side

“JUST BROKE”

by Edgar Guest

Nothing’s the matter with Me!
I can see,
I can hear, I can sing, I could climb
up a tree.
I am well, I can eat anything that’s about.
I can run, I can dance,
I can laugh, I can shout,
and I’m blamed if I’ll travel around here and croak
that I’m broke!

My arms are all right;
I can fight!
I can still romp around with the kiddies
at night!
I haven’t neuritis; I haven’t the ‘flu;
I still have a fairly good
foot in each shoe;
I am able to gather the point of a joke;
I’m just broke.

Nothing has happened to me
that I see!
My appetite’s good and I’m strong
as can be!
The wife hasn’t left me, the children are well.
Things are just as they were
when the stock market fell.
I can work, I can play, I can eat, I can smoke.
I’m just broke!

From the book, The Friendly Way
© 1931 by The Reilly & Lee Co.

Team Work

by Edgar Guest

It’s all very well to have courage and skill
and it’s fine to be counted a star,
But the single deed with its touch of thrill
doesn’t tell us the man you are.
For there’s no lone hand in the game we play;
we must work to a bigger scheme.
And the thing that counts in the world today
is, ‘How did you pull with the team?’

They may sound your praise and call you great,
they may single you out for fame,
but you must work with your running mate
or you’ll never win the game.
Oh, never the work of a life is done
by the man with a selfish dream,
for the battle is lost or the battle is won
by the spirit of the team.

That Foul Fiend “I CAN’T”

CAN’T

by Edgar Guest

Can’t is the worst word that’s written or spoken;
doing more harm here than slander and lies;
on it is many a strong spirit broken,
and with it many a good purpose dies.

It springs from the lips of the thoughtless each morning
and robs us of courage we need through the day;
it rings in our ears like a timely-sent warning
and laughs when we falter and fall by the way.

Can’t is the father o feeble endeavor,
the parent of terror and half-hearted work;
it weakens the efforts of artisans clever
and makes of the toiler an indolent shirk.

It poisons the soul of the man with a vision;
it stifles in infancy many a plan;
it greets honest toiling with open derision
and mocks at the hopes and the dreams of a man.

Can’t is a word none should speak without blushing;
to utter it should be a symbol of shame.
Ambition and courage it daily is crushing;
it blights a man’s purpose and shorten his aim.

Despise it with all of your hatred of error;
refuse it the lodgment it seeks in your brain;
arm against it as a creature of terror
and all that you dream of, you someday shall gain.

Can’t is the word that is foe to ambition,
an enemy ambushed to shatter your will;
its prey is forever the man with a mission
and bows but to courage and patience and skill.

Hate it, with hatred that’s deep and undying,
for once it is welcomed ‘twill break any man;
whatever the goal you are seeking, keep trying
and answer this demon by saying, “I CAN.”

From his book, Along Life’s Highway
© 1933 by the Reilly and Lee Company