Tuesday, August 16, 2022



Princeton University undergraduates once voted Edgar A. Guest the world’s worst poet. Dorothy Parker, invoking the test for syphilis, wrote:
"I’d rather flunk my Wasserman test
Than read a poem by Edgar A. Guest.”

Edgar A Guest is to poetry what Norman Rockwell is to art, and I mean that in a good way.

Both have been dismissed by the critics as being sentimental, idealistic and nostalgic but their works have remained popular with the people who count, the public.

Norman Rockwell - Triple Selfie

I don’t mind admitting that I like Edgar A Guest's poems but that can be expected from someone who prefers the Man from Nantucket to Ode on a Grecian Urn.

Here is one of Guest's poems . . . 

Looking Back

by Edgar A. Guest

I might have been rich if I'd wanted the gold
instead of the friendships I've made.
I might have had fame if I'd sought for renown
in the hours when I purposely played.
Now I'm standing to-day on the far edge of life,
and I'm just looking backward to see
What I've done with the years and the days that were mine,
and all that has happened to me.

I haven't built much of a fortune to leave
to those who shall carry my name,
And nothing I've done shall entitle me now
to a place on the tablets of fame.
But I've loved the great sky and its spaces of blue;
I've lived with the birds and the trees;
I've turned from the splendour of silver and gold
to share in such pleasures as these.

I've given my time to the children who came;
together we've romped and we've played,
And I wouldn't exchange the glad hours spent
with them for the money that I might have made.
I chose to be known and be loved by the few,
and was deaf to the plaudits of men;
And I'd make the same choice should the chance
come to me to live my life over again.

I've lived with my friends and I've shared in their joys,
known sorrow with all of its tears;
I have harvested much from my acres of life,
though some say I've squandered my years.
For much that is fine has been mine to enjoy,
and I think I have lived to my best,
And I have no regret, as I'm nearing the end,
for the gold that I might have possessed.

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