Father

by Edgar 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 them 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.

From his book, A Heap O’ Livin’
© 1916 by The Reilly & Britton Co.

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