Guest Poet


I’ll be sharing some poetry from Edgar A Guest tomorrow night on the radio show. I appreciate Guest is not a particularly well-known name nowadays but, in his day, he was hugely respected and known as the people’s poet. 

The following Guest poem is shared here as a tribute for all those people I know who’ve been courageous enough to exercise their self-discipline and quit something. In some ways this is probably hypocritical of me: it’s my birthday today and I’ll likely be showing a marked lack of willpower and self-discipline as the day progresses.
However, if I do lapse back into any of my unsavoury habits, I now know the poem is here so I can probably revisit it for inspiration.   
And please, if you have a chance, tune in tomorrow night to hear more of Guest’s remarkable work.

On Quitting
How much grit do you think you’ve got?
Can you quit a thing that you like a lot?
You may talk of pluck; it’s an easy word,
And where’er you go it is often heard;
But can you tell to a jot or guess
Just how much courage you now possess?
You may stand to trouble and keep your grin,
But have you tackled self-discipline?
Have you ever issued commands to you
To quit the things that you like to do,
And then, when tempted and sorely swayed,
Those rigid orders have you obeyed?

Don’t boast of your grit till you’ve tried it out,

Nor prate to men of your courage stout,

For it’s easy enough to retain a grin

In the face of a fight there’s a chance to win,

But the sort of grit that is good to own

Is the stuff you need when you’re all alone.

How much grit do you think you’ve got?

Can you turn from joys that you like a lot?

Have you ever tested yourself to know

How far with yourself your will can go?

If you want to know if you have grit,

Just pick out a joy that you like, and quit.

It’s bully sport and it’s open fight;

It will keep you busy both day and night;

For the toughest kind of a game you’ll find

Is to make your body obey your mind.

And you never will know what is meant by grit

Unless there’s something you’ve tried to quit. 

 Edgar Guest

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