It’s always a great feeling to discover poets whom I have never heard of, and reading some of their fascinating poetry. This poem kinda reminds me of myself growing up. Sometimes I would be afraid of the things that went bump in the night.
Here’s a little background on this great Poet:
Edgar Guest (1881-1959) began his career at the Detroit Free Press in 1895, where he first worked as a copyboy. In 1904 he began writing poems for the Free Press under the heading “Chaff.” Those columns evolved into an immensely popular daily feature entitled “Breakfast Table Chat,” which, at the height of its popularity, was syndicated in about three hundred other newspapers.
For 30 years Guest published a new poem every single day in the Detroit Free Press. More than 11,000 poems! His poems were extremely popular at the time. He was known as The People’s Poet of his age for his easy-to-read poems about family, work, children, and God which upheld the values of the typical American in the first half of the 20th century.
In 1916 Guest published A Heap O’ Livin’, a collection of verse that eventually sold more than one million copies. That work was followed by Just Folks (1918), Rhythms of Childhood (1924), Life’s Highway (1933), and Living the Years (1949).
Guest was appointed Poet Laureate for the State of Michigan in 1952. The text of the resolution includes:
Thousands of people in the State of Michigan throughout the years have looked to the poems of Edgar A. Guest for moral support in times of stress and have enjoyed his subtle humor and homespun philosophy.
“Being Brave At Night”
The other night ’bout two o’clock, or maybe it was three,
An elephant with shining tusks came chasing after me.
His trunk was wavin’ in the air an’ spoutin’ jets of steam
An’ he was out to eat me up, but still, I didn’t scream
Or let him see that I was scared – a better thought I had,
I just escaped from where I was and crawled in bed with dad.
One time there was a giant who was horrible to see,
He had three heads and twenty arms, an’ he came after me
And red hot fire came from his mouths and every hand was red
And he declared he’d grind my bones and make them into bread.
But I was just too smart for him, I fooled him might bad,
Before his hands could collar me I crawled in bed with dad.
I ain’t scared of nothin that comes pesterin’ me at night.
Once I was chased by forty ghosts all shimmery an’ white.
An’ I just raced ’em round the room an’ let ’em think maybe
I’d have to stop an’ rest a while when they could capture me.
Then when they leapt onto my bed, Oh Gee! But they were mad
To find that I had slipped away an’ crawled in bed with dad.
No giants, ghosts, or elephants have dared to come in there
‘Coz if they did he’d beat ’em up and chase ’em to their lair.
They just hang ’round the children’s rooms
an’ snap an’ snarl an’ bite
An’ laugh if they can make ’em yell
for help with all their might.
But I don’t ever yell out loud. I’m not that sort of lad,
I slip from out the covers and I crawl in bed with dad.