It’s that time of year when we ask ourselves the question, “What do men really want for Father’s Day?” Let’s see; most men have enough ties, and candy, and coffee mugs. One thing they do not have in our culture (and in most families) is honor and respect. For this, we must pull out the thoughts of one very important family poet, Edgar A. Guest.
Edgar Guest was born in England, but then emigrated to America with his family when he was ten years old. He started as a copy boy for the Detroit Free Press in 1895 and worked his way up by writing verse until he gained his own feature entitled Breakfast Table Chat. He went on to publish a number of anthologies of his poems, each filled with thoughts on home, fatherhood, family life, patriotism, godly living, etc.
His poems, and their popularity, are proof that men are so much more than they are being portrayed today. Here is one example (that makes my husband’s eyes “leak”):
Only a Dad
Only a dad, with a tired face,
Coming home from the daily race,
Bringing little of gold or fame,
To show how well he has played the game,
But glad in his heart that his own rejoice
To see him come, and to hear his voice.
Only a dad, with a brood of four,
One of ten million men or more.
Plodding along in the daily strife,
Bearing the whips and the scorns of life,
With never a whimper of pain or hate,
For the sake of those who at home await.
Only a dad, neither rich nor proud,
Merely one of the surging crowd
Toiling, striving from day to day,
Facing whatever may come his way,
Silent, whenever the harsh condemn,
And bearing it all for the love of them.
Only a dad, but he gives his all
To smooth the way for his children small,
Doing, with courage stern and grim,
The deeds that his father did for him.
This is the line that for him I pen,
Only a dad, but the best of men.
(What did I tell you–isn’t he great, and aren’t dads great?)
Here is another one:
The road to laughter beckons me,
The road to all that’s best;
The home road where I nightly see
The castle of my rest;
The path where all is fine and fair,
And little children run,
For love and joy are waiting there
As soon as day is done.
There is no rich reward of fame
That can compare with this:
At home I wear an honest name,
My lips are fit to kiss.
At home I’m always brave and strong,
And with the setting sun
They find no trace of shame or wrong
In anything I’ve done.
There shine the eyes that only see
The good I’ve tried to do;
They think me what I’d like to be;
They know that I am true.
And whether I have lost my fight
Or whether I have won,
I find a faith that I’ve been right
As soon as day is done.Edgar Guest
Want some more? Try this one:
To live as gently as I can;
To be, no matter where, a man;
To take what comes of good or ill
And cling to faith and honor still;
To do my best, and let that stand
The record of my brain and hand;
And then, should failure come to me,
Still work and hope for victory.
To have no secret place wherein
I stoop unseen to shame or sin;
To be the same when I’m alone
As when my every deed is known;
To live undaunted, unafraid
Of any step that I have made;
To be without pretense or sham
Exactly what men think I am.
To leave some simple mark behind
To keep my having lived in mind;
If enmity to aught I show,
To be an honest, generous foe,
To play my little part, nor whine
That greater honors are not mine.
This, I believe, is all I need
For my philosophy and creed.Edgar Guest
Fatherhood and manhood are just a few of his themes. Here is one that is very famous (that our children have memorized):
Somebody said that it couldn’t be done
But he with a chuckle replied
That “maybe it couldn’t,” but he would be one
Who wouldn’t say so till he’d tried.
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
On his face. If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn’t be done, and he did it!
Somebody scoffed: “Oh, you’ll never do that;
At least no one ever has done it;”
But he took off his coat and he took off his hat
And the first thing we knew he’d begun it.
With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,
Without any doubting or quiddit,
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn’t be done, and he did it.
There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
There are thousands to prophesy failure,
There are thousands to point out to you one by one,
The dangers that wait to assail you.
But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,
Just take off your coat and go to it;
Just start in to sing as you tackle the thing
That “cannot be done,” and you’ll do it.Edgar Guest
I began collecting his anthologies a number of years back and own four of them, but I am so thankful his poems can be found for free online. Here is the best, most complete site (from which I copied and pasted every poem here except for the top one, which I copied from Poetry Foundation):
As a side note:
No one is perfect, but even in Christian circles we are being encouraged to magnify every flaw and fault of the men in our lives, especially in our fathers. Then, when we have our own homes, we carry this over and encourage our own children to do the very same thing.
This is not by accident. There are evil forces that want us pitted against each other so that our families will be destroyed (ultimately influenced by the devil himself). We must do everything we can to repel these directives. I have written before just how destructive feminism has been, but this is only the beginning of recovery.
If you are interested in making a difference in your own family, here is the first video in a series called School of Cinderella Lessons by Denise Renner. It includes some Titus 2 teaching on how to overcome our female tendency to take down our homes with our own hands:
I hope you will take the time to enjoy these poems, they may make your eyes “leak,” too!