Friday Fave: Stick Together Families, A Poem by Edgar Guest

In general, I am not a poetry lover. There are a few poems I’ve encountered over the years that I have enjoyed. For instance, one of my favorite poems is If, by Rudyard Kipling. There are also the poems of Robert Frost which highlight the beautiful convergence of nature and human existence. Funny kid poems such as Eugene Field’s The Duel are wonderful in their playful way, and kids love it. That makes it one worth remembering

Nevertheless, you won’t find very many poetry collections on our bookshelves. Emily Dickinson? Meh. Walt Whitman? I guess, if you like that sort of thing. Poetry is just not something that piques my literary interest as much as it should.

There is one modern poet that I like, because his poetry is relatable, easy for the modern mind, and has something to offer in the current zeitgeist. His name is Edgar Guest (1881-1959), and while he was born in Britain, he lived most of his life, from age 10, in the United States. The website describes him this way, and I heartily agree:

Guest has been called “the poet of the people.” Most often, his poems were fourteen lines long and presented a deeply sentimental view of everyday life. He considered himself “a newspaper man who wrote verses.” 

Recently, our family was discussing this poem of his. It is called “The Stick Together Families”, and while it is not my favorite of his, it seems particularly important in a world where the importance of family bonds is under constant assault. I hope you enjoy it.

The Stick Together Families

The stick-together families are happier by far
Than the brothers and the sisters who take separate highways are.
The gladdest people living are the wholesome folks who make
A circle at the fireside that no power but death can break.
And the finest of conventions ever held beneath the sun
Are the little family gatherings when the busy day is done.

There are rich folk, there are poor folk, who imagine they are wise,
And they’re very quick to shatter all the little family ties.
Each goes searching after pleasure in his own selected way,
Each with strangers likes to wander, and with strangers likes to play.
But it’s bitterness they harvest, and it’s empty joy they find,
For the children that are wisest are the stick-together kind.

There are some who seem to fancy that for gladness they must roam,
That for smiles that are the brightest they must wander far from home.
That the strange friend is the true friend, and they travel far astray
they waste their lives in striving for a joy that’s far away,
But the gladdest sort of people, when the busy day is done,
Are the brothers and the sisters who together share their fun.

It’s the stick-together family that wins the joys of earth,
That hears the sweetest music and that finds the finest mirth;
It’s the old home roof that shelters all the charm that life can give;
There you find the gladdest play-ground, there the happiest spot to live.
And, O weary, wandering brother, if contentment you would win,
Come you back unto the fireside and be comrade with your kin.

And oh yes. Happy New Year!