Edgar Albert Guest

(20 August 1881 - 5 August 1959 / Birmingham / England)

Names And Faces - Poem by Edgar Albert Guest

I do not ask a store of wealth,
Nor special gift of power;
I hope always for strength and health
To brave each troubled hour.
But life would be distinctly good,
However low my place is,
Had I a memory that could
Remember names and faces.

I am not troubled by the fact
That common skill is mine;
I care not that my life has lacked
The glory of the fine.
But, oh, when someone speaks to me,
My cheeks grow red with shame
Because I'm sure that he must see
That I have lost his name.

Embarrassment, where'er I go,
Pursues me night and day;
I hear some good friend's glad 'Hello,'
And stop a word to say.
His voice melodiously may ring,
But that's all lost on me,
For all the time I'm wondering
Whoever can he be.

I envy no man's talent rare
Save his who can repeat
The names of men, no matter where
It is they chance to meet.
For he escapes the bitter blow,
The sorrow and regret,
Of greeting friends he ought to know
As though they'd never met.

I do not ask a store of gold,
High station here, or fame;
I have no burning wish to hold
The popular acclaim;
Life's lanes I'd gladly journey through,
Nor mind the stony places,
Could I but do as others do
And know men's names and faces!


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Poem Submitted: Thursday, August 14, 2014



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