The Best of Men

The Best of Men

This week’s choice is by Edgar Albert Guest and is chosen to mark what would have been my own dad’s 85th birthday, had he lived.

This is the line that for him I pen,
Only a dad, but the best of men.

Edgar Albert Guest (1881—1959)

Poem 193. Only a Dad

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.

This poem is a heart-felt tribute to fathers and the sacrifices they make, often working long hours for little recompense or recognition from their colleagues or line managers, deriving their happiness from their family at the end of the day, knowing that their daily travails benefit those who depend on them, like their father did for them.

I like this poem because it reminds me of my own dad who was (of course) the best of men to my brother and me: a funny, generous and kindly father. I visit his memorial stone when I visit Nicola’s, and remember his sense of humour, his carpentry addiction, and the hours he spent working on behalf of the Village Hall. I hope that I reflect his character as much as I can.