Only a Dad

- 1881-1959
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.

More by Edgar Guest

Father

My father knows the proper way 
   The nation should be run; 
He tells us children every day 
   Just what should now be done. 
He knows the way to fix the trusts, 
   He has a simple plan; 
But if the furnace needs repairs, 
   We have to hire a man. 


My father, in a day or two 
   Could land big thieves in jail; 
There's nothing that he cannot do, 
   He knows no word like "fail." 
"Our confidence" he would restore, 
   Of that there is no doubt; 
But if there is a chair to mend, 
   We have to send it out. 


All public questions that arise, 
   He settles on the spot; 
He waits not till the tumult dies, 
   But grabs it while it's hot. 
In matters of finance he can 
   Tell Congress what to do; 
But, O, he finds it hard to meet 
   His bills as they fall due. 


It almost makes him sick to read 
   The things law-makers say; 
Why, father's just the man they need, 
   He never goes astray. 
All wars he'd very quickly end, 
   As fast as I can write it; 
But when a neighbor starts a fuss, 
   'Tis mother has to fight it. 


In conversation father can 
   Do many wondrous things; 
He's built upon a wiser plan 
   Than presidents or kings. 
He knows the ins and outs of each 
   And every deep transaction; 
We look to him for theories, 
   But look to ma for action.

A Toast to the Men

Dedicated to the Women


Here's to the men! Since Adam's time 
      They've always been the same; 
Whenever anything goes wrong, 
      The woman is to blame. 
From early morn to late at night, 
      The men fault-finders are; 
They blame us if they oversleep, 
      Or if they miss a car. 
They blame us if, beneath the bed, 
      Their collar buttons roll; 
They blame us if the fire is out 
      Or if there is no coal. 
They blame us if they cut themselves 
      While shaving, and they swear 
That we're to blame if they decide 
      To go upon a tear. 


Here's to the men, the perfect men! 
      Who never are at fault; 
They blame us if they chance to get 
      The pepper for the salt. 
They blame us if their business fails, 
      Or back a losing horse; 
And when it rains on holidays 
      The fault is ours, of course. 
They blame us when they fall in love, 
      And when they married get; 
Likewise they blame us when they're sick, 
      And when they fall in debt. 
For everything that crisscross goes 
      They say we are to blame; 
But, after all, here's to the men, 
      We love them just the same!

On Quitting

How much grit do you think you've got? 
Can you quit a thing that you like a lot? 
You may talk of pluck; it's an easy word, 
And where'er you go it is often heard; 
But can you tell to a jot or guess 
Just how much courage you now possess? 


You may stand to trouble and keep your grin, 
But have you tackled self-discipline? 
Have you ever issued commands to you 
To quit the things that you like to do, 
And then, when tempted and sorely swayed, 
Those rigid orders have you obeyed? 


Don't boast of your grit till you've tried it out, 
Nor prate to men of your courage stout, 
For it's easy enough to retain a grin 
In the face of a fight there's a chance to win, 
But the sort of grit that is good to own 
Is the stuff you need when you're all alone. 


How much grit do you think you've got? 
Can you turn from joys that you like a lot? 
Have you ever tested yourself to know 
How far with yourself your will can go? 
If you want to know if you have grit, 
Just pick out a joy that you like, and quit. 


It's bully sport and it's open fight; 
It will keep you busy both day and night; 
For the toughest kind of a game you'll find 
Is to make your body obey your mind. 
And you never will know what is meant by grit 
Unless there's something you've tried to quit.

Related Poems

Going for Water

The well was dry beside the door,
  And so we went with pail and can
Across the fields behind the house
  To seek the brook if still it ran;

Not loth to have excuse to go,
  Because the autumn eve was fair
(Though chill), because the fields were ours,
  And by the brook our woods were there.

We ran as if to meet the moon
  That slowly dawned behind the trees
, The barren boughs without the leaves,
  Without the birds, without the breeze.

But once within the wood, we paused
  Like gnomes that hid us from the moon,
Ready to run to hiding new
  With laughter when she found us soon.

Each laid on other a staying hand
  To listen ere we dared to look,
And in the hush we joined to make
  We heard, we knew we heard the brook.

A note as from a single place,
  A slender tinkling fall that made
Now drops that floated on the pool
  Like pearls, and now a silver blade.