Edgar Albert Guest

20 August 1881 - 5 August 1959 / Birmingham / England

A Real Thriller

We were speakin' of excitement, an' the hair upliftin' thrills
That sorter dot life's landscape, like the bill board ads. for pills,
An' one feller spoke of bein' in a railroad wreck or two
An' another one of skatin' on some ice that let him through.
Then a meek-faced little brother in the smoker's corner said:
'I'll admit you folks have suffered temporary fear 'an dread,
But, tell me, have you ever ridden sixteen miles at night
In a livery stable cutter, when the snow was deep an' white
An' discovered, when attracted by the lash's singin' cuts
That the driver's full of whisky an' the road is full of ruts?

'Don't talk to me of terror, 'less you've ridden in a sleigh
Through a strange an' barren country, jus' before the break o' day
When it's blacker than your derby, an' you're shiverin' with cold
An' the fear that in a minute down a chasm you'll be rolled.
I would volplane in a biplane, though I'm not a Wilbur Wright,
I would join the crazy Frenchman in his somersaulting flight.
I would even scoff at Villa or some other Greaser thug,
An' not worry that my body soon would stop a leaden slug.
But I'd pass up midnight riding, where a deep ravine abuts
When the driver's full of whisky an' the road is full of ruts.

'I never for one minute doubt that there's a Providence,
A wiser power above us, something more than mortal sense;
A wisdom that is deeper than the wisdom man has shown,
A mercy that is sweeter than we selfish mortals own.
That there is a God in Heaven is as sure as sure can be,
An' each day that I am living certain proof of it I see.
If we'd have it manifested, there's no need to go to schools,
Or to scholars or the sages—we may learn it from the fools.
One must really be watched over by an eye that never shuts
When the driver's full of whisky and the road is full of ruts.'
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