Oh the comfort--
the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person--
having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words,
but pouring them all right out,
just as they are,
chaff and grain together,
certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them,
keep what is worth keeping,
and with the breath of kindness blow the rest away.

"Friendship" by M. M. Craik

Monday, December 10, 2012

When You Know a Fellow

As I've read through Florence's journal, I've come to understand why Edgar A. Guest was known as The People's Poet. He really does take our lives and put them in a common denominator. I love this poem. It would be perfect to study in an elementary classroom. The discussion on prejudice is very apropos today.

The original poem has another four stanzas that were left out of Florence's journal.  I've typed them here as they were in her book.

When you get to know a fellow,
know his joys and know his cares,

When you've come to understand him
and the burdens that he bears,

When you've learned the fight he's making
and the troubles in his way,

Then you find that he is different
than you thought him yesterday.

You find his faults are trivial
and there's not so much to blame

In the brother that you jeered at
when you only knew his name.

You are quick to see the blemish
 in the distant neighbor's style,

You can point to all his errors
and may sneer at him the while,

And your prejudices fatten
and your hates more violent grow

As you talk about the failures
of the man you do not know,

But when drawn a little closer,
and your hands and shoulders touch,

You find the traits you hated
really don't amount to much.

When next you start in sneering
and your phrases turn to blame,

Know more of him you censure
than his business and his name;

For it's likely that acquaintance
would your prejudice dispel

And you'd really come to like him
if you knew him very well.

When you get to know a fellow
and you understand his ways,

Then his faults won't really matter,
for you'll find a lot to praise.

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