Edgar Albert Guest

20 August 1881 - 5 August 1959 / Birmingham / England

A Wish

I'd like to be a boy again, a care-free prince of joy again,
I'd like to tread the hills and dales the way I used to do;
I'd like the tattered shirt again, the knickers thick with dirt again,
The ugly, dusty feet again that long ago I knew.
I'd like to play first base again, and Sliver's curves to face again,
I'd like to climb, the way I did, a friendly apple tree;
For, knowing what I do to-day, could I but wander back and play,
I'd get full measure of the joy that boyhood gave to me.

I'd like to be a lad again, a youngster, wild and glad again,
I'd like to sleep and eat again the way I used to do;
I'd like to race and run again, and drain from life its fun again,
And start another round of joy the moment one was through.
But care and strife have come to me, and often days are glum to me,
And sleep is not the thing it was and food is not the same;
And I have sighed, and known that I must journey on again to sigh,
And I have stood at envy's point and heard the voice of shame.

I've learned that joys are fleeting things; that parting pain each meeting brings;
That gain and loss are partners here, and so are smiles and tears;
That only boys from day to day can drain and fill the cup of play;
That age must mourn for what is lost throughout the coming years.
But boys cannot appreciate their priceless joy until too late
And those who own the charms I had will soon be changed to men;
And then, they too will sit, as I, and backward turn to look and sigh
And share my longing, vain, to be a carefree boy again.
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