The Neighborly Man

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Edgar Guest

Some are eager to be famous, some are striving to be great, 
Some are toiling to be leaders of their nation or their state, 
And in every man's ambition, if we only understood, 
There is much that's fine and splendid; every hope is mostly good. 
So I cling unto the notion that contented I will be 
If the men upon life's pathway find a needed friend in me.

I rather like to putter 'round the walks and yards of life, 
To spray at night the roses that are burned and browned with strife; 
To eat a frugal dinner, but always to have a chair 
For the unexpected stranger that my simple meal would share. 
I don't care to be a traveler, I would rather be the one 
Sitting calmly by the roadside helping weary travelers on.

I'd like to be a neighbor in the good old-fashioned way, 
Finding much to do for others, but not over much to say. 
I like to read the papers, but I do not yearn to see 
What the journal of the morning has been moved to say of me; 
In the silences and shadows I would live my life and die 
And depend for fond remembrance on some grateful passers-by.

I guess I wasn't fashioned for the brilliant things of earth, 
Wasn't gifted much with talent or designed for special worth, 
But was just sent here to putter with life's little odds and ends 
And keep a simple corner where the stirring highway bends, 
And if folks should chance to linger, worn and weary through the day, 
To do some needed service and to cheer them on their way.