Thursday, February 23, 2006


I have to live with myself, and so

I want to be fit for myself to know,
I want to be able, as days go by,
Always to look myself straight in the eye;
I don't want to stand, with the setting sun,
And hate myself for things I have done.
I don't want to keep on a closet shelf

A lot of secrets about myself,
And fool myself, as I come and go,
Into thinking that nobody else will know
The kind of a person I really am;
I don't want to dress up myself in sham.
I want to go out with my head erect,

I want to deserve all respect;
But here in the struggle for fame and pelf
I want to be able to like myself.
I don't want to look at myself and know
That I'm bluster and bluff and empty show.
I can never hide myself from me;

I see what others may never see;
I know what others may never know,
I never can fool myself, and so,
Whatever happens, I want to be
Self-respecting and conscience free.

By Edgar A. Guest

* Note: My great-grandmother died about a year and a half ago. She was ninety three. Her life was full of challenges, but she maintained a strong sense of who she was, as well as right and wrong. During her visitation, my sister was flipping through her scrapebooks and found this poem. Being so old, there were some references geared to only men. I've changed a word or two, so the poem is generic to human nature as a whole. This poem was clearly important to her, and she was important to me.* - OCG

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