Edgar A. Guest
Used to wonder just why father
Never had much time for play,
Used to wonder why he’d rather
Work each minute of the day.
Used to wonder why he never
Loafed along the road an’ shirked;
Can’t recall a time whenever
Father played while others worked.
Father didn’t dress in fashion,
Sort of hated clothing new;
Style with him was not a passion;
He had other things in view.
Boys are blind to much that’s going
On about ‘em day by day,
And I had no way of knowing
What became of father’s pay.
All I knew was when I needed
Shoes I got ‘em on the spot;
Everything for which I pleaded,
Somehow, father always got.
Wondered, season after season,
Why he never took a rest,
And that I might be the reason
Then I never even guessed.
Father set a store on knowledge;
If he’d lived to have his way
He’d have sent me off to college
And the bills been glad to pay.
That, I know, was his ambition:
Now and then he used to say
He’d have done his earthly mission
On my graduation day.
Saw his cheeks were getting paler,
Didn’t understand just why;
Saw his body growing frailer,
Then at last I saw him die.
Rest had come! His tasks were ended,
Calm was written on his brow;
Father’s life was big and splendid,
And I understand it now.
Collected Verse of Edgar A. Guest
(Cutchogue, NY: Buccaneer Books, 1976), 28