Today I came across a 1952 Texas Driving Handbook in a box of miscellaneous items that had belonged to my father. Printed on the handbook’s back cover is a poem by American poet, Edgar A. Guest (1881-1951), entitled “Driver’s License.” I became familiar with Guest when Hannah’s fifth grade teacher required each student to memorize his poem entitled “Myself.”
Guest was a prolific poet, as is evidenced by the great number of his poems published on the Internet. So, it was surprising not to find this particular poem anywhere on the web. Therefore, I offer this cautionary verse about the responbilities of obtaining a driver’s license in honor of all new drivers.
This is your license to drive a car:
To be watchful ever where children are;
To travel the streets and keep in mind
That people are sometimes deaf and blind
And lame and feeble and care distraught
And accidents come from lack of thought.
This is your license to drive and so
All that it means I would have you know.
Though it isn’t printed in language plain
It’s an affidavit that you are sane;
And it also tells that your state has found
Your faculties clear and your body sound,
It says that your state has faith in you;
That never a wrongful act you’ll do;
That you know how dangerous hills can be;
That you’ll pass no car where you cannot see
A long, clear stretch of the thoroughfare
And wherever you’re going you’ll drive with care.
Carry your license to drive with pride,
For how shamed you’d be were it once denied!
It is sworn-to proof that the rules you know,
That you’re neither stupid nor witted-slow;
That your state through its officers find you are
Fit to be trusted to drive a car.
~by Edgar A. Guest~Advertisements