by Edgar Guest
Time was, when spring returned we went
to find another home to rent;
we wanted fresher, cleaner walls
and bigger rooms and wider halls
and open plumbing and the dome
that made the fashionable home.
But now with spring we want to sell
and seek a finer place to dwell.
Our thoughts have turned from dens and domes;
we want the latest thing in homes;
to life we’ll not be reconciled
unless we have a bathroom tiled.
A butler’s pantry we desire,
although no butler do we hire;
Nell’s life will be one round of gloom
without a closet for the broom
and mine will dreary be and sour
unless the bathroom has a shower.
For months and months we’ve sat and dreamed
of paneled walls and ceilings beamed
and built-in cases for the books,
an attic room to be the cook’s.
No house will she consent to view
unless it has a sun room, too.
There must be washbowls here and there
to save much climbing of the stair;
a sleeping porch we both demand–
this fad has swept throughout the land–
and, oh, ’twill give her heart a wrench
not to possess a few doors, French.
I want to dig and walk around
at least full fifty feet of ground;
she wants the latest style in tubs;
I want more room for trees and shrubs
and a garage, with light and heat,
that can be entered from the street.
The trouble is the things we seek
cannot be bought for ‘ten-a-week.’
And all the joys for which we sigh
are just too rich for us to buy.
We have the taste to cut a dash:
the thing we’re lacking most is cash.
From the book A Heap O’ Livin’ by Edgar Guest,
published 1916 by The Reilly & Britton Co.
The author would have written this poem before World War I, so we can see what would have constituted a fashionable home in an American city during that era.
As I read through Mr. Guest’s later poems, I see how his writing changed as America faced the Stock Market Crash and the Depression years. Later poems come through as an encouragement to make the best of things as they are and be thankful.
I’m posting this poem as a celebration, because I went into WordPress Support and have finally learned how to do single spacing on my blogs — which makes it possible for me to type poetry directly into a post. Before now I had to type all poems into WordPerfect, then cut & paste, because the RETURN (or ENTER) default is a double line space — assuming the only reason you’d ever hit ENTER is to start a new paragraph. Now I hit SHIFT & ENTER together and it works like a charm. Live & learn!