Poem – Ancestry

ancestry cairn


By Edgar A. Guest


Some would know what lies ahead;

Others search the dusky past

Wondering whose, among the dead,

Are the shadows that are cast;

Who the weak ones and the strong

And the foolish and the wise,

Sharing all the right and wrong

Of this morning’s enterprise?


Why so quick of temper, I?

Why so stubborn now and then?

Can it be in years gone by

These were traits of father’s men?

Why this love of field and stream,

Bird and bee and blossoming tree?

Did some kin of mother’s dream,

And pass dreaming on to me?


There were those who sailed the sea–

So my father often told–

Loved on oceans vast to be

In the long gone days of old.

Now, the sight of moving ships,

Canvas spread, and golden sand

Thrills me to my finger tips

Though I’m bound unto the land.


Who is prompting me today

From some long forgotten grave

From my task to slip away,

Or to spend what I should save?

Who gives counsel, now and then,

And resolves what I shall be,

Lives in me, and will again

In some one who follows me?<fn>Edgar A. Guest, “Ancestry,” Detroit Free Press, 16 June 1944, p. 6, col. 5, poem; digital image, Detroit Free Press (http://freep.newspapers.com/image/98147165 : accessed 01 August 2017).</fn>

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *