Father

By Edgar Albert Guest

Edgar Albert Guest's Background (1881-1959)

Edgar Albert Guest was born in 1881.

In 1891, at the age of 10, Edgar Albert Guest and his family moved from England to Detroit, Michigan.

He began working for the Detroit Free Press, eventually becoming a reporter. In this job, he published his first poem on December 11th 1989.


Over his life he published over 11,000 poems, making him earn the nickname the Poet of the People.

Another achievement by Edgar Albert Guest is that he is the only poet to ever be a Poet Laureate for Michigan. This means he was appointed by the government to make poems for certain occasions, like parties, special events, etc.


Eventually, Edgar Albert Guest died in 1959.

Edgar Albert Guest's Poems

Over the course of his lifetime, Edgar Albert Guest published over 11,000 poems.

His poems were popular during the 20th century.

Edgar Albert Guest is known for his upbeat, optimistic, and sentimental poems.


One of his most famous poems is Home, with an excerpt below:


  • It don't make a difference how rich ye get t' be'
  • How much yer chairs and tables cost, how great the luxury;
  • It ain't home t' ye, though it be the palace of a king,
  • Until somehow yer soul is sort o' wrapped round everything.



Currently, Poetry Out Loud has three of his poems on their website. They are Father, It Couldn't Be Done, and On Quitting.

Other poems can be found here, here, and here

Entirety of "Father"

Link to Poetry Out Loud poem



My father knows the proper way

The nation should be run;

He tells us children every day

Just what should now be done.

He knows the way to fix the trusts,

He has a simple plan;

But if the furnace needs repairs,

We have to hire a man.


My father, in a day or two

Could land big thieves in jail;

There’s nothing that he cannot do,

He knows no word like “fail.”

“Our confidence” he would restore,

Of that there is no doubt;

But if there is a chair to mend,

We have to send it out.


All public questions that arise,

He settles on the spot;

He waits not till the tumult dies,

But grabs it while it’s hot.

In matters of finance he can

Tell Congress what to do;

But, O, he finds it hard to meet

His bills as they fall due.


It almost makes him sick to read

The things law-makers say;

Why, father’s just the man they need,

He never goes astray.

All wars he’d very quickly end,

As fast as I can write it;

But when a neighbor starts a fuss,

’Tis mother has to fight it.


In conversation father can

Do many wondrous things;

He’s built upon a wiser plan

Than presidents or kings.

He knows the ins and outs of each

And every deep transaction;

We look to him for theories,

But look to ma for action.

EC - Poetry - Father by Edgar Albert Guest [flv]

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