How and Why

by Edgar Guest

Still as children asking why
adults gaze upon the sky.
Still as children, grownups seek
reason for the comet's streak.

Still to sages, baffling are
sun and planet, moon and star.
On a garden's tiny space
miracles are taking place.

And as children, age explores
God's bewildering out-of-doors.
Questioning, till the day they die,
Life's great mystery -- how and why?
The mysterious Northern Lights have inspired many legends.

Hello Tulips

This poem by Edgar Guest takes me back to a time soon after the Stock Market Crash in Oct 1929, when the world was plunged into the Great Depression. The winter of 1930 saw a double whammy happening: in the East the economy was sinking fast as jobs were being lost; in the West the drought had begun and was to last, generally, until Aug 1937. All this while Hitler’s armies were moving into various countries and war clouds were gathering over Europe. Yes, this old world has seen some pretty tough times. As Mr Guest points out, the flowers know nothing of financial woes.

Hello Tulips

Hello, tulips, don’t you know
stocks today are very low?
You appear so bright and glad;
don’t you know that trade is bad?
You are just as fair to see
as you were in times when we
rolled in money. Tell me how
you can look so happy now?

Hello, tulips, white and red,
gleaming in the garden bed.
Can it be you haven’t heard
all the grief which has occurred?
Don’t you see the saddened eye
of the human passer-by?
By his frowning, can’t you tell
things have not been going well?

Hello, tulips, in the sun
You are lovely, every one.
But I wonder, why don’t you
wear a sad, expression, too?
Can it be you fail to see
things aren’t what they used to be?
This old world is all upset;
why don’t you begin to fret?

And they answered me, “Hello.
Nothing’s altered that we know,
warm the sun and sweet the rain,
summer skies are blue again.
Birds are singing and we nod
grateful tulip prayers to God.
Only mortals fret and strive.
We are glad to be alive.”

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

Happiness is Home

Today’s prompt at Jibber Jabber with Sue is HAPPY, which brings to mind this verse by Edgar Guest — and I think it’s suitable for Mother’s Day.

H.Roses.Rebekka
Happy Mother’s Day to all you mothers out there, to all of you who’ve borne and raised children, also to those of you who have been a home-maker and/or mother-mentor to someone in need of help.

The Joy of Getting Home

by Edgar A. Guest

The joy of getting home again
is the sweetest thrill I know.
Though travelers by ship or train
are smiling when they go,
the eye is never quite so bright,
the smile so wide and true,
as when they pass the last home light
and all their wandering’s through.

Oh, I have journeyed down to sea
and traveled far by rail,
but naught was quite so fair to me
as that last homeward trail.
Oh, nothing was in London town,
or Paris gay, or Rome
with all its splendor and renown
so good to see as home.

‘Tis good to take these lovely trips,
‘tis good to get away,
there’s pleasure found on sailing ships,
but travel as you may
you’ll learn as most of us have learned,
wherever you may roam,
you’re happiest when your face is turned
toward the lights of home.

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

Fussy Birds!

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is STICKLER

I was wandering around the yard yesterday and thinking it’s time to get the bird houses cleaned up and hung in the trees again. As most bird-lovers know, birds can be very particular about their nests when it comes to size and location. Three years ago I downloaded plans for a “proper” tree swallow nest box and had a friend build two. I don’t know why, but our tree swallows have shunned them all this time. They check the place out, but they won’t nest there. Sigh.

Birds are fussy about neighbours, too. The feisty little wren chases off all its neighbours. They pick their own place, then fill all other potential nests around them with sticks so no other birds can use them.

In this poem Edgar Guest tells us what sticklers the martins are.

The Martins

The Martins are peculiar and whimsical at best:
they’re very charming tenants if with you they choose to nest,
but though the house you build for them may perfect seem to be,
you cannot coax them into it if something wrong they see.

I do not know precisely what the Martins ask from men;
I only know they like a house with rooms for eight or ten
and it must stand above the ground full fourteen feet or more
with unimpeded space about for them to wheel and soar.

The neighborhood must suit their choice; the gardens must be neat,
nor will they stay to raise their young along a noisy street.
And many a man has built a house their fellowship to win,
which, for some cause to him unknown, they would not enter in.

The scouts come on in early spring to look the houses o’er
and if they do not like the place you’ll see their charms no more,
but should your home their fancies suit, within a day or two
the Martins will arrive to spend the summertime with you.

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

If I Could Have My Wish

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is MOST DESIRABLE

My response will be this verse by Edgar Guest; I find it quite inspiring.

A WISH

If I could have my wish it
would not be for wealth or fame at all,
but a firmer grip on fellowship
and all joys great and small
and I’d like to know as I come and go
much more of this world we share;
with a wiser mind I could always find
some joy in the task I bear.

If I could have my wish it
would not be for a strong man’s power
but a mind so filled with love ’twere thrilled
by the sight of a bird or flower,
and a heart so deep it could safely keep
all the good things warm within
so that I could turn, with delight, to learn
what each new day ushered in.

If I could have my wish it
would not be for some glittering prize,
but a faith so strong it could walk along
wherever my pathway lies.
My best I’d give to each hour I live,
and whether in peace or strife
I should like to stay to my final day
aglow with the joy of life.

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

Can’t Find Her Purse

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is CAN’T.

This is such a bendable word. CAN’T may means “I’m not able to…” CAN’T may mean “I’m not allowed to….” (Remember teachers of years gone by pointing out CAN NOT versus MAY NOT?)
CAN’T may be stretched to mean “I won’t, so drop it!” or we may use CAN’T as a brush off because I don’t want to bother. And there’s the temporary kind of CAN’T that affects us all from time to time.
Since this humorous verse by Edgar Guest echoes one of my theme songs at this point in my life, “I can’t remember,” it will be my response to the prompt.

THE LOST PURSE

I remember the excitement and the terrible alarm
that worried everybody when William broke his arm
and how frantic Pa and Ma got only just the other day
when they couldn’t find the baby ‘cause he’d up and walked away,
but I’m sure there’s no excitement that our house has ever shook
like the times Ma can’t remember where she’s put her pocketbook.

When the laundry man is standing at the door and wants his pay
Ma hurries in to get it, and the fun starts right away.
She hustles to the sideboard, cause she knows exactly where
she can put her hand right on it — but alas! It isn’t there.
She tried the parlor table and she goes upstairs to look
and once more she can’t remember where she put her pocketbook.

She tells us that she had it just a half an hour ago,
and now she cannot find it though she’s hunted high and low;
she’s searched the kitchen cupboard and the bureau drawers upstairs,
and it’s not behind the sofa nor beneath the parlor chairs.
She makes us kids get busy searching every little nook,
and this time says she’s certain that she’s lost her pocketbook.

She calls Pa at the office and he laughs, I guess, for then
she always mumbles something ‘bout the heartlessness of men.
She calls to mind a peddler who came to the kitchen door
and she’s certain from his whiskers and the shabby clothes he wore
and his dirty shirt and collar that he must have been a crook,
and she’s positive that fellow came and got her pocketbook.

But at last she always finds it in some queer and funny spot,
where she’d put it in a hurry and had somehow clean forgot;
and she heaves a sigh of gladness and she says, “Well, I declare,
I would take an oath this minute that I never put it there.”
And we’re peaceable and quiet till next time Ma goes to look
and finds she can’t remember where she put her pocketbook.

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