Sunday, October 13, 2013

Review of "Only a Dad" by Edgar Guest

"Only a Dad" by Edgar Guest was offered by Poets.org's Poem-A-Day on October 12, 2013.  The poem is in the public domain and therefore is legally reprinted here.  Edgar Guest (1881 - 1959) was a British born American poet thought to have composed about 11,000 poems in his lifetime.  He was known as "The Poet of the People" owing to the simple, everyday nature of his subject matter.  A more detailed biography may be found here:

http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/731?utm_source=PAD%3A+Only+a+Dad+by+Edgar+Guest&utm_campaign=poemaday_101213&utm_medium=email

Only a Dad

Edgar Guest1881 - 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.


True to the style for which he was known, "Only a Dad" is a simple rhyme that really requires no close reading to understand.  The sentimental idealization of the perfect working father depicted is straightforward enough.  It is also complete hogwash.  With few exceptions, a father such as the one described by Mr. Guest would be miserable.  Outwardly, perhaps he would appear happy and collected.  Inwardly, he would be a ticking time bomb.


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