Edgar A. Guest was born in England but moved to America when he was 10. At 21, he became a naturalized American. He was a poet and became very popular in the first half of the 20th century. His poetry was light verse, optimistic and inspirational. He wrote about 11,000 poems in total and had several poetry books published. He also hosted a radio show and a television series. And an interesting little tidbit to end his biography: he was a Freemason Detroit!
The poem I’ve chosen is not one of his more famous works. I couldn’t find anything out about when it was written, or in which of his books it appeared. I don’t own any of his poetry volumes, so it’s not like I could thumb through them either. But I really like this poem! I agree with the message: a book is always there, lying on the shelf, waiting for you to pick it up. You can jump right back in, or go back and start over at the beginning. Certain books do really feel like friends when I pick them back up again. They contain so many memories, especially the ones I keep on rereading. Love it!
By Edgar Guest
Good books are friendly things to own.
If you are busy they will wait.
They will not call you on the phone
Or wake you if the hour is late.
They stand together row by row,
Upon the low shelf or the high.
But if you’re lonesome this you know:
You have a friend or two nearby.
The fellowship of books is real.
They’re never noisy when you’re still.
They won’t disturb you at your meal.
They’ll comfort you when you are ill.
The lonesome hours they’ll always share.
When slighted they will not complain.
And though for them you’ve ceased to care
Your constant friends they’ll still remain.
Good books your faults will never see
Or tell about them round the town.
If you would have their company
You merely have to take them down.
They’ll help you pass the time away,
They’ll counsel give if that you need.
He has true friends for night and day
Who has a few good books to read.