A Father’s Thoughts By Edgar Albert Guest
Because I am his father, they
Expect me to put grief away;
Because I am a man, and rough
And sometimes short of speech and gruff,
The women folks at home believe
His absence doesn’t make me grieve;
But how I felt, they little know,
The day I smiled and let him go.
They little know the dreams I had
Long cherished for my sturdy lad;
They little guess the wrench it meant
That day when off to war he went;
They little know the tears I checked
While standing, smiling and erect;
They never heard my smothered sigh
When it was time to say good-bye.
‘What does his father think and say?’
The neighbors ask from day to day.
‘Oh, he’s a man,’ they answer then.
‘And you know how it is with men.
But little do they ever say,
They do not feel the self-same way;
He seems indifferent and grim
And yet he’s very proud of him.’
Indifferent and grim! Oh, heart,
Be brave enough to play the part,
Let not the grief in you be shown,
Keep all your loneliness unknown,
To you the women folks must turn
For comfort when their sorrows burn.
You must not at this time reveal
The pain and anguish that you feel.
Oh, tongue, be silent through the years,
And eyes, keep back always the tears,
And let them never see or know
My hidden weight of grief and woe.
Though every golden dream I had
Was centered in my little lad,
Alone my sorrow I must bear.
They must not know how much I care.
Though women folks may talk and weep,
A man, unseen, his grief must keep,
And hide behind his smile and pride
The loneliness that dwells inside.
And so, from day to day, I go,
Playing the part of man, although
Beneath the rough outside and grim,
I think and dream and pray for him.