I have to live with myself, and so
I want to be fit for myself to know,
I want to be able, as days go by,
Always to look myself straight in the eye;
I don’t want to stand, with the setting sun,
And hate myself for things I have done.
I don’t want to keep on a closet shelf
A lot of secrets about myself,
And fool myself, as I come and go,
Into thinking that nobody else will know
The kind of a man I really am;
I don’t want to dress up myself in sham.
I want to go out with my hand erect,
I want to deserve all men’s respect;
But here in the struggle for fame and pelf
I want to be able to like myself.
I don’t want to look at myself and know
That I’m bluster and bluff and empty show.
I can never hide myself from me;
I see what others may never see;
I know what others may never know,
I never can fool myself, and so,
Whatever happens, I want to be
Self-respecting and conscience free.
- Edgar A. Guest