I do not say new friends are not considerate and true,
Or that their smiles ain't genuine, but still I'm tellin' you
That when a feller's heart is crushed and achin' with the pain,
And teardrops come a-splashin' down his cheeks like summer rain,
Becoz his grief an' loneliness are more than he can bear,
Somehow it's only old friends, then, that really seem to care.
The friends who've stuck through thick an' thin, who've known you, good an' bad,
Your faults an' virtues, an' have seen the struggles you have had,
When they come to you gentle-like an' take your hand an' say:
'Cheer up! we're with you still,' it counts, for that's the old friends' way.
The new friends may be fond of you for what you are today;
They've only known you rich, perhaps, an' only seen you gay;
You can't tell what's attracted them; your station may appeal;
Perhaps they smile on you because you're doin' something real;
But old friends who have seen you fail, an' also seen you win,
Who've loved you either up or down, stuck to you, thick or thin,
Who knew you as a budding youth, an' watched you start to climb,
Through weal an' woe, still friends of yours an' constant all the time,
When trouble comes an' things go wrong, I don't care what you say,
They are the friends you'll turn to, for you want the old friends' way.
The new friends may be richer, an' more stylish, too, but when
Your heart is achin' an' you think your sun won't shine again,
It's not the riches of new friends you want, it's not their style,
It's not the airs of grandeur then, it's just the old friend's smile,
The old hand that has helped before, stretched out once more to you,
The old words ringin' in your ears, so sweet an', Oh, so true!
The tenderness of folks who know just what your sorrow means,
These are the things on which, somehow, your spirit always leans.
When grief is poundin' at your breast — the new friends disappear
An' to the old ones tried an' true, you turn for aid an' cheer.
This poem is in the public domain.
Edgar Guest (1881 - 1959) was born in England, but moved with his family to Detroit, Michigan, when he was ten years old. He worked for more than sixty years at the Detroit Free Press, publishing his first poem at the age of seventeen, then going on to become a reporter and columnist whose work was featured in hundreds of newspapers around the country. Edgar is said to have written some 11,000 poems during his lifetime, most of it sentimental, short, upbeat verse. Critics often derided his work, but America adored him. He was known as the "People's Poet," served as Michigan's poet laureate, hosted a long-running radio show and TV show, and published more than twenty books.
In my youth in Detroit, Edgar Guest was the poet who influenced me most to write my own poetry. I love seeing him in print today.
Posted 06/08/2022 09:18 AM
Yes, one to forward to lifelong friends.
Posted 06/08/2022 08:42 AM
My stepdaughter is a librarian. A volume of COLLECTED VERSE OF EDGAR GUEST got turned in to the library for the "Get Books Cheap" racks. Guess who owns it now. The man was truly an amazing poet. I don't think he could help himself. For Edgar, poems just happened, like breathing. I love seeing him turn up on YDP.
Posted 06/08/2022 08:40 AM
A friend I've known since grade school, sixty-five years ago, came to visit the other day and we're still so comfortable around each other that it's like no time has passed. Guest is so right on in this work of words.
Posted 06/08/2022 07:14 AM