Monday, November 17, 2014

One lump, or two?

As some of you know, Eddie Guest (1895-1959) was a syndicated columnist with the Detroit Free Press. He never claimed to be a poet, but for more than 30 years his daily columns were heartwarming verses. In 1906 he married Nellie Crossman of Detroit. They had two children, Edgar Jr. (called Bud) and Janet. Guest shared their births and many other personal moments with readers through his columns. His sincerity was apparent to all who attended his public readings, where he would weep unashamedly at the sentiments his verses aroused within him. Eventually he wrote 11,000 poems syndicated in 300 papers and republished in 20 books. The verse below was dedicated to his faithful wife Nellie. It made sense to many husbands who read it in the Free Press, and it describes my wife exactly. Yours too? Why not tell her, today.

Nellie made a cup of tea, made and poured it out for me,
And above the steaming brew smiled and asked me, "one or two?"
Saucily she tossed her head. "Make it sweet for me," I said.

Two sweet lumps of sugar fell into that small china well,
But I knew the while I drained every drop the cup contained,
More than sugar in the tea made the beverage sweet for me.

This to her I tried to say in that golden yesterday --
Life is like a cup of tea which time poureth endlessly.
Brewed by trial's constant heat, needing love to make it sweet.

Then I caught her looking up and I held my dainty cup
Out to her and bravely said, "Here is all that lies ahead,
Here is all my life to be. Will you make it sweet for me?

That was years ago, and now there is silver in her brow;
We have sorrowed, we have smiled, we've been hurt and reconciled.
But whatever had to be, she has made it sweet for me.

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