I first heard this poem recited at a horsemanship clinic I rode in many years ago. When I ordered Tom Dorrance's book, it came with a small booklet called The Collection, which was a collection of Tom's favorite poems, and this one was included. Since the first time I heard it; I was moved by its message and for many years have tried to live my life by it. I must honestly admit that on a number of occasions I've not been very proud of the man I saw in that mirror, but it has always confirmed to me that we must always strive to be the good person who does the right thing in life, by ourselves and by others. I have always, and will continue to share this poem at the closing of each of my clinics, in the enduring hope that others may embrace it's message as I have.
The Man in the Glass
By Dale Wimbrow, © 1934
When you get what you want in your struggle for self,
And the world makes you King for a day,
Just go to the mirror and look at yourself,
And see what that man has to say.
For it isn't your Father, or Mother, or Wife,
Whose judgement upon you must pass.
The fellow whose verdict counts most in your life,
Is the man staring back from the glass.
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.
He's the fellow to please, never mind all the rest,
Fore he's with you clear up to the end,
And you've passed your most dangerous, difficult test
If the man in the glass is your friend.
You may get what you want 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.