Slow down and Live – a 1950’s Poem

Driving to work I take my life in my hands. Things have gotten so bad lately I have been avoiding the freeway. There I find tailgaters, texters, excessive speed, lane changing inches from my bumper and decisions made with no warning.

I sell ephemera from the 50s and 60s.  Mostly maps but this week I sold a booklet called “Trip Tips – helpful hints for the motor traveler”. Here is the mid century cover art.

What does this have to do with bad drivers you ask? I found the following poem on the back page. It talks about the folly of bad driving. Think it applies today.

The Right of Way – by Edgar A. Guest

“Why do you drive at such a speed?”
I asked a motor chap.
“It would go hard with you, indeed,
In case of some mishap.
If a collision there should be,
You’d have no time to pray”
“That isn’t my lookout.” said he.
“I’ve got the right of way.”

One day the while he sped along
He felt a sudden jar,
And in a second came a throng
To pick him from his car.
“Something with pain my body fills,”
They heard him feebly say,
“But send the other man the bills.
I had the right of way.”

Oh, sorry was the moment when
The doctors came to tell
His wife and little child of ten
That he could not get well.
Their grief was pitiful to see,
Their tears they could not stay;
Nor did it help to know that he
Had had the right of way.

A widow now is robed in black,
A child is fatherless.
The comforts and the care they lack
That they should still possess.
Nor does it make one moment glad,
Nor light one gloomy day,
Because their reckless father had
The legal right of way.


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