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Sermons We See
Edgar Guest


I'd rather see a sermon than hear one any day; 
I'd rather one should walk with me than merely tell the way. 
The eye's a better pupil and more willing than the ear, 
Fine counsel is confusing, but example's always clear; 
And the best of all the preachers are the men who live their creeds, 
For to see good put in action is what everybody needs.

I soon can learn to do it if you'll let me see it done; 
I can watch your hands in action, but your tongue too fast may run. 
And the lecture you deliver may be very wise and true, 
But I'd rather get my lessons by observing what you do; 
For I might misunderstand you and the high advice you give, 
But there's no misunderstanding how you act and how you live.

When I see a deed of kindness, I am eager to be kind. 
When a weaker brother stumbles and a strong man stays behind 
Just to see if he can help him, then the wish grows strong in me 
To become as big and thoughtful as I know that friend to be. 
And all travelers can witness that the best of guides today 
Is not the one who tells them, but the one who shows the way.

One good man teaches many, men believe what they behold; 
One deed of kindness noticed is worth forty that are told. 
Who stands with men of honor learns to hold his honor dear, 
For right living speaks a language which to every one is clear. 
Though an able speaker charms me with his eloquence, I say, 
I'd rather see a sermon than to hear one, any day.


This poem is in the public domain.



Edgar Guest (1881 - 1959)  was born in England,  but moved with his family to Detroit, Michigan, when he was ten years old. He worked for more than sixty years at the Detroit Free Press, publishing his first poem at the age of seventeen, then going on to become a reporter and columnist whose work was featured in hundreds of newspapers around the country. Edgar is said to have written some 11,000 poems during his lifetime, most of it sentimental, short, upbeat verse. Critics often derided his work, but America adored him. He was known as the "People's Poet," served as Michigan's poet laureate, hosted a long-running radio show and TV show, and published more than twenty books.




Post New Comment:
I have always loved the poetry of Edgar.
Posted 07/17/2016 07:04 PM
Lori Levy:
Very true!
Posted 07/17/2016 12:01 PM
Jean :D:
This was one of my mother's favorite sayings. It was so good to read the whole thing! This should be required reading by everyone!!
Posted 07/17/2016 09:27 AM
I absolutely love this poem. NO POLITICS NEEDED!!
Posted 07/17/2016 09:10 AM
Patiently waited for almost 70 years. To SEE my core beliefs. Celebrated within a poem. Thanks to Edgar & Jayne, too. Smiles.
Posted 07/17/2016 07:59 AM
What a wonderful poem. With all the nonsense we are are all being fed in both our countries I'd like to see it on billboards everywhere...Perhaps a copy to every politition would surfice!
Posted 07/17/2016 07:49 AM
I recently listened to a sermon on compassion, all the while wondering where this person's compassion had been in a specific incident. I love this poem, it is what we should all be doing. Plus, I've always liked Edgar Guests writing. So easy to read and understand.
Posted 07/17/2016 06:11 AM

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