Edgar A. Guest (1881-1959) was born in Birmingham, England and came with his family to Detroit when he was 10. In 1895 he began working for the Detroit Free Press as a copy boy. By 1904 he was writing a weekly column. And eventually he started a daily column that in time consisted almost exclusively of poems. At the height of his popularity his column was carried by 300 newspapers. At age 50 he began a weekly radio show and 20 years later, NBC broadcast his “A Guest in Your Home” on TV. Over his lifetime he wrote more than 20 books of poetry. He was also a lifelong golfer and a few of his 11,000 or more poems had golf themes. The following poem, “Yesterday” could only be written by a seasoned lifer on the links.
I’ve trod the links with many a man,
And played him club for club;
‘Tis scarce a year since I began,
And I am still a dub.
But this I’ve noticed as we strayed
Along the bunkered way:
No one with me has ever played
As he did yesterday.
It makes no difference what the drive;
Together as we walk
‘Till we up to the ball arrive,
I get the same old talk.
“Today, there’s something wrong with me,
Just what I cannot say,
Would you believe I got a three
On this hole—yesterday?”
I see them top and slice a shot,
And fail to follow through,
And with their brasseys plough the lot,
The very way I do.
To six and seven their figures run,
And then they sadly say:
“I neither dubbed nor foozled one,
When I played—yesterday.”
I have no yesterdays to count,
No good work to recall;
Each morning sees hope proudly mount,
Each evening sees it fall.
And in the locker room at night,
When men discuss their play,
I hear them, and I wish I might
Have seen them—yesterday.
O dear old yesterday! What store
Of joys for men you hold!
I’m sure there is no day that’s more
Remembered or extolled.
I’m off my task myself a bit,
My mind has run astray;
I think, perhaps, I should have writ
This poem is included in my book, Golf Course of Rhymes – Links between Golf and Poetry Through the Ages, available at Amazon.com.