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The Guy in the Glass - Dale Wimbrow

I'm not a big poetry fan, but over a decade ago a piece of writing introduced to me as "The Man In The Glass" had a huge effect upon me in relation to dealing with my drug addiction issues.

I first came across the poem in AA - a member told me that nobody knew who the true author was and that it had been found scrawled on the walls of death row in a San Quentin prison. When I first started writing a column called "The Man In The Glass", it often bothered me that I didn't know who the true author was. I felt that this person deserved some sort of recognition for the wonderful gift he or she had provided to humanity.

For a couple of years, a version of "The Guy in the Glass" appeared on World Wide Addiction, along with a request for information about the real author. I am happy to say that the family of Dale Wimbrow, the author, contacted me recently about the origins of the poem.

The version I had published, as with so many other reproductions I've seen is somewhat incorrect. It is with great pride and thanks to the family of Dale Wimbrow that I can now publish the correct version and give credit to the writer of this uplifting poem.

The Guy in the Glass

When you get what you want in your struggle for pelf,
And the world makes you King for a day,
Then go to the mirror and look at yourself,
And see what that guy has to say.

For it isn't your Father, or Mother, or Wife,
Who judgement upon you must pass.
The feller whose verdict counts most in your life

Is the guy staring back from the glass.
He's the feller to please, never mind all the rest,
For he's with you clear up to the end,
And you've passed your most dangerous, difficult test
If the guy in the glass is your friend.

You may be like Jack Horner and "chisel" a plum,
And think you're a wonderful guy,
But the man in the glass says you're only a bum
If you can't look him straight in the eye.

You can fool the whole world down the pathway of years,
And get pats on the back as you pass,
But your final reward will be heartaches and tears
If you've cheated the guy in the glass.

Dale Wimbrow 1895-1954 (See below)

* Permission for the reproduction of "The Guy in the Glass" was very kindly granted to me by the family of Dale Wimbrow.  Please contact the Wimbrow family before reproducing the poem. This is one of the most misquoted and misrepresented writings that I know of  - by gaining the proper permission from the Wimbrow family, we can finally show Dale the gratitude and respect that he rightly deserves. 

If you see a copy of this poem elsewhere on the web that does not give credit to the writer or is incorrectly quoted, please help the Wimbrow family in their efforts to have Dale properly recognized and point the webmaster to "The Guy In The Glass" web site.

Thank you,

Michael Bloch

Copyright (c) 2001 - 2007 Taming the Beast -

Learn more about the poem "The Guy In The Glass"
often incorrectly titled - "The Man In The Glass"

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