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[Index to poems in the collection by Arthur Guiterman]

. The Chip on the Shoulder

    LEARN this now before you are older:
    Don’t go through life with a chip on your shoulder,
    Always aggrieved and ever offended,
    Fancying wrongs that are not intended.
    Let not a sense of humor desert you,
    Take it that nobody means to hurt you,
    Find no insult in idle chatter,
    Pass it over; it doesn’t matter.
    Look for the best in everybody,
    Value the wool, forget the shoddy;
    Get in the habit of liking people.
    Love is the spire on every steeple.

    Arthur Guiterman

. In the Hospital

    BECAUSE on the branch that is tapping my pane
    A sun-wakened leaf-bud, uncurled,
    Is bursting its rusty brown sheathing in twain,
    I know there is Spring in the world.

    Because through the sky-patch whose azure and white
    My window frames all the day long
    A yellow-bird dips for an instant of flight,
    I know there is Song.

    Because even here in this Mansion of Woe
    Where creep the dull hours, leaden-shod,
    Compassion and Tenderness aid me, I know
    There is God.

    Arthur Guiterman

. Pershing at the Front

    THE General came in a new tin hat
    To the shell-torn front where the war was at;
    With a faithful Aide at his good right hand
    He made his way toward No Man’s Land,
    And a tough Top Sergeant there they found,
    And a Captain, too, to show them round.

    Threading the ditch, their heads bent low,
    Toward the lines of the watchful foe
    They came through the murk and the powder stench
    Till the Sergeant whispered, “Third-line trench!”
    And the Captain whispered, “Third-line trench!”
    And the Aide repeated, “Third-line trench!”
    And Pershing answered- not in French-
    “Yes, I see it. Third-line trench.”

    Again they marched with wary tread,
    Following on where the Sergeant led
    Through the wet and the muck as well,
    Till they came to another parallel.
    They halted there in the mud and drench,
    And the Sergeant whispered, “Second-line trench!”
    And the Captain whispered, “Second-line trench!”
    And the Aide repeated, “Second-line trench!”
    And Pershing nodded: “Second-line trench!”

    Yet on they went through mire like pitch
    Till they came to a fine and spacious ditch
    Well camouflaged from planes and Zeps
    Where soldiers stood on firing steps
    And a Major sat on a wooden bench;
    And the Sergeant whispered, “First-line trench!”
    And the Captain whispered, “First-line trench!”
    And the Aide repeated, “First-line trench!”
    And Pershing whispered, “Yes, I see.
    How far off is the enemy?”
    And the faithful Aide he asked, asked he,
    “How far off is the enemy?”
    And the Captain breathed in a softer key,
    “How far off is the enemy?”

    The silence lay in heaps and piles
    And the Sergeant whispered, “Just three miles.”
    And the Captain whispered, “Just three miles.”
    And the Aide repeated, “Just three miles.”
    “Just three miles!” the General swore,
    “What in the heck are we whispering for?”
    And the faithful Aide the message bore,
    “What in the heck are we whispering for?”
    And the Captain said in a gentle roar,
    “What in the heck are we whispering for?”
    “Whispering for?” the echo rolled;
    And the Sergeant whispered, “I have a cold.”

    Arthur Guiterman

. The Passionate Suburbanite To His Love

    COMMUTE with me, my Love, and be merry;
    How vain in the City to dwell
    When apple-trees blow in Dobbs' Ferry
    And lilacs adorn New Rochelle!
    White Plains is the Garden of Allah
    And Pelham's the Pearl of the Sea;
    There's bliss in the name of Valhalla—
    Oh, fly to the Suburbs with me!

    Then won't you commute on my family ticket?
    To Westchester County we'll flee.
    Delightful Westchester,
    What place is sequester!
    Oh, won't you commute, Love, with me?

    I'll pluck you the earliest crocus
    In Orange or Englewood fair;
    We'll sport on the meads of Hohokus,
    We'll ramble through Cultured Montclair;
    We'll rest in Exclusive Tuxedo,
    Or Nutley, for artists renowned,
    And still shall I carol my credo,
    "The Suburbs are Paradise Found."

    Then won't you commute on my family ticket?
    Perhaps you prefer New Jersee;
    For who could grow weary
    Of life on the Erie!
    Then won't you commute, Love, with me?

    The Isle 'twixt the Sound and the Ocean—
    Ah, has it no Message for you?
    I cannot but think with emotion
    Of Flushing, Jamaica, and Kew,
    Of Bayshore of youthful vacations,
    Of Little Neck, Great Neck, and Quogue
    And all of the other Clam Stations
    Including Speonk and Patchogue.

    Then come take a trip on my family ticket
    Where Long Island breezes blow free.
    To live on the Subway
    Is surely a dub way,--
    Then fly to the Suburbs with me!

    Arthur Guiterman

. Strictly Germ-proof

    THE Antiseptic Baby and the Prophylactic Pup
    Were playing in the garden when the Bunny gamboled up;
    They looked upon the Creature with a loathing undisguised;—
    It wasn't Disinfected and it wasn't Sterilized.

    They said it was a Microbe and a Hotbed of Disease;
    They steamed it in a vapor of a thousand-odd degrees;
    They froze it in a freezer that was cold as Banished Hope
    And washed it in permanganate with carbolated soap.

    In sulphurated hydrogen they steeped its wiggly ears;
    They trimmed its frisky whiskers with a pair of hard-boiled shears;
    They donned their rubber mittens and they took it by the hand
    And elected it a member of the Fumigated Band.

    There's not a Micrococcus in the garden where they play;
    They bathe in pure iodoform a dozen times a day;
    And each imbibes his rations from a Hygienic Cup—
    The Bunny and the Baby and the Prophylactic Pup.

    Arthur Guiterman

. On the Vanity of Earthly Greatness

    THE tusks which clashed in mighty brawls
    Of mastodons, are billiard balls.

    The sword of Charlemagne the Just
    Is Ferric Oxide, known as rust.

    The grizzly bear, whose potent hug,
    Was feared by all, is now a rug.

    Great Caesar's bust is on the shelf,
    And I don't feel so well myself.

    Arthur Guiterman

. Heritage

    THIS is the land that we love; here our fathers found refuge,
    Here are the grooves of their plows and the mounds of their graves;
    These are the hills that they knew and the forests and water,
    Glorious rivers and seas of rejuvenant waves.

    This is our heritage, this that our fathers bequeathed us,
    Ours in our time, but in trust for the ages to be;
    Wasting or husbanding, building, destroying, or shielding,
    Faithful or faithless — possessors and stewards are we.

    What of our stewardship? What do we leave to our children?
    Crystalline, health-giving fountains, or gutters of shame?
    Fields that are fertile, or barrens exhausted of vigor?
    Burgeoning woodlands, or solitudes blasted by flame?

    Madly we squander the bounty and beauty around us
    Wrecking, not using, the treasure and splendor of earth;
    Only is grief unavailing for glory departed —
    Only in want do we count what the glory is worth.

    Arthur Guiterman

[Index to poems in the collection by Arthur Guiterman]


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