poet Sam Walter Foss

Sam Walter Foss

The House By The Side Of The Road

There are hermit souls that live withdrawn
In the place of their self-content;
There are souls like stars, that dwell apart,
In a fellowless firmament;
There are pioneer souls that blaze the paths
Where highways never ran-
But let me live by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

Let me live in a house by the side of the road
Where the race of men go by-
The men who are good and the men who are bad,
As good and as bad as I.
I would not sit in the scorner's seat
Nor hurl the cynic's ban-
Let me live in a house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

I see from my house by the side of the road
By the side of the highway of life,
The men who press with the ardor of hope,
The men who are faint with the strife,
But I turn not away from their smiles and tears,
Both parts of an infinite plan-
Let me live in a house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

I know there are brook-gladdened meadows ahead,
And mountains of wearisome height;
That the road passes on through the long afternoon
And stretches away to the night.
And still I rejoice when the travelers rejoice
And weep with the strangers that moan,
Nor live in my house by the side of the road
Like a man who dwells alone.

Let me live in my house by the side of the road,
Where the race of men go by-
They are good, they are bad, they are weak, they are strong,
Wise, foolish - so am I.
Then why should I sit in the scorner's seat,
Or hurl the cynic's ban?
Let me live in my house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

Poem Submitted: Monday, September 20, 2010

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Comments about The House By The Side Of The Road by Sam Walter Foss

  • Virginia J. Pulver (7/19/2019 11:56:00 AM)

    My mother would often recite many stanzas of this poem so it is ingrained in my head and my heart. When I walked the Way of Saint James (the 1000K Camino) I became enamored of the role of those who live by the side of the road and serve those who race by. I trained as an hospitalero and served at an albergue, helping pilgrims on their pilgrimage. The poem is dear to me. - Ginn, In Steamy SC

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  • Janna (6/11/2019 7:41:00 AM)

    My mother's favorite poem. She would recite it to me when I was in elementary school. My memories of time spent with her are on my mind this beautiful spring morning

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  • Steve (3/12/2019 8:37:00 PM)

    This was my Fathers favorite poem. He owned a Restaurant and Motel. This was his " House by the side of the road." He passed away in 1985. The day after fathers day. I read this poem again that day. I always liked this poem, I read it again the day after he died. Needless to say, I was very, very impacted by it at that time.

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  • Carol R Carr (1/23/2018 3:03:00 AM)

    I learned this poem when I was in the seventh grade....my teacher Mr Andrew Orlando Hill gave his students a poem every week that we had to learn and recite at the end of the week...This was One of my favorites! ! ! ! Nathan Bedford Forest Elementary School....Those were the days.....

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  • Martha (11/13/2017 7:20:00 PM)

    I learned this poem at age ten, for interscholastic declamation competition. A friend won with “Oh Captain, my Captain.” I still think mine was a happier poem, and more appropriate for my age then. I hope it is ok for me to post it on facebook for the challenge, seven poems in seven days.

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  • Bob Dougherty (4/1/2016 9:06:00 PM)

    I was walking down a road one day and stopped at a house by its side. There I found Sam Walter Foss. We have been friends over since, and I return to visit him frequently. I have learned from him that time travel is possible through thought, but you have to leave them by the side of the road.

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  • Pamela Smith (11/9/2011 9:36:00 PM)

    Thank you!

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