The Brighter Side

I want to celebrate my birthday today with an upbeat, inspiring poem — and I found this one that fits the bill perfectly.

The Brighter Side

by Edgar Guest

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


If This Were All

by Edgar A Guest

If this were all of life we’ll know,
if this brief space of breath
were all there is to human toil,
if death were really death,
and never should the soul arise
a finer world to see
how foolish would our struggles seem.
How grim the earth would be!

If living were the whole of life,
to end in seventy years,
how pitiful its joys would seem.
How idle all its tears!
There’d be no faith to keep us true,
no hope to keep us strong,
and only fools would cherish dreams —
no smile would last for long.

How purposeless the strife would be
if there were nothing more,
if there were not a plan to serve,
an end to struggle for!
No reason for a mortal’s birth
except to have him die —
how silly all the goals would seem
for which men bravely try.

There must be something after death;
behind the toil of man
there must exist a God divine
Who’s working out a plan.
And this brief journey that we know
as life — must really be
the gateway to a finer world
that someday we shall see.

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

Word Press daily prompt: Abstract




Lesson From the Robins


You never hear the robins brag about the sweetness of their song,
nor do they stop their music gay whene’er a poor man comes along.
God taught them how to sing and when they’d learned the art,
He sent them here
to use their talents day by day, the dreary lives of men to cheer.
And rich or poor and sad or gay, the ugly and the fair to see,
can stop most anytime in June and hear the robins’ melody.

I stand and watch them in the sun using their gifts from day to day,
swelling their little throats with song, regardless of man’s praise or pay.
Just being robins, nothing else, nor claiming greatness for their deeds
but just content to gratify one of the big world’s many needs,
singing a lesson to us all to be ourselves and scatter cheer
by using every day the gifts God gave us when He sent us here.

Why should we keep our talents hid, or think we favor men because
we use the gifts that God has given? The robins never ask applause,
nor count themselves remarkable, nor strut in a superior way,
because their music sweeter is than that God gave unto the jay.
Only a man conceited grows as he makes use of talents fine,
forgetting that he merely does the working of the Will Divine.

Lord, as the robins, let me serve! Teach me to do the best I can
to make this world a better place, and happier for my fellow man.
If gift of mine can cheer his soul and hearten him along his way,
let me not keep that talent hid; I would make use of it today.
And since the robins ask no praise, nor pay for all their songs of cheer,
let me in humbleness rejoice to do my bit of service here.

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


Wondering about something to post for today’s Word Press daily prompt: heard, I opened up my volume of Edgar Guest poems and found this one. Not only does it suit the prompt, I thought, but it was a verse I needed to hear myself this morning.

Making A House A Home


by Edgar Guest

The landlord wouldn’t paint the place
or keep it in repair,
yet at the window panes was lace,
though every board was bare
and those who passed it by could trace
the tenant’s tender care.

And those who passed it by could see
a blossoming plant or two.
Despite the tenant’s poverty
a little garden grew,
lovely and gay and orderly
the blazing summer through.

The landlord Life at times seems cold
and deaf to every plea,
yet to our dreams we still can hold;
courageous we can be
and round the place plant marigolds
for passers-by to see.

We, too, with faith, can plant a rose
where all is bleak and bare
and fashion pretty furbelows
for windows of despair,
and work, till our poor dwelling shows
a tenant’s tender care.

From his book, LIFE’S HIGHWAY
© 1933 by the Reilly & Lee Co.


by Edgar Guest

Not for the sake of the gold,
not for the sake of the fame,
not for the prize would I hold
any ambition or aim:
I would be brave and be true
just for the good I can do.

I would be useful on earth,
serving some purpose or cause,
doing some labor of worth,
giving no thought to applause,
thinking less of the gold or the fame
than the joy and the thrill of the game.

Medals their brightness may lose,
fame be forgotten or fade;
any reward we may choose
leaves the account still unpaid.
But little real happiness lies
in fighting alone for a prize.

Give me the thrill of the task,
the joy of the battle and strife,
of being of use – and I’ll ask
no greater reward from this life.
Better than fame or applause
is striving to further a cause.

From his book, A Heap O’ Livin’
© 1916 by the Reilly & Britton Company

Hope you find this verse inspiring. I’ve also posted another fiction story about a fellow lost in a spring storm, titled A Whiff of Smoke, on Christine

When You Get to Know a Fellow

by Edgar A. Guest

When you get to know a fellow, know his joys and know his cares,
when you’ve come to understand him and the burdens that he bears,
when you’ve learned the fight he’s making and the troubles in his way,
then you find that he is different than you thought him yesterday.
You find his faults are trivial and there’s not so much to blame
in the brother that you jeered at when you only knew his name.

You are quick to see the blemish in the distant neighbor’s style;
you can point to all his errors and may sneer at him the while,
and your prejudices fatten and your hates more violent grow
as you talk about the failures of the man you do not know.
But when drawn a little closer and your hands and shoulders touch,
you find the traits you hated really don’t amount to much.

When you get to know a fellow, know his every mood and whim,
you begin to find the texture of the splendid side of him;
you begin to understand him and you cease to scoff and sneer,
for with understanding always prejudices disappear.
You begin to find his virtues and his faults you cease to tell,
for you seldom hate a fellow when you know him very well.

When next you start in sneering and your phrases turn to blame,
know more of him you censure than his business and his name;
for it’s likely that acquaintance would your prejudice dispel
and you’d really come to like him if you knew him very well.
When you get to know a fellow and you understand his ways,
then his faults won’t really matter, for you’ll find a lot to praise.

from his book A Heap O’ Livin’
© 1916 by the Reilly & Britton Co