The Man 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

So stare in the mirror,
This part is key,
Tell yourself truly,
What do you see?

Tags : ConsciousnessfirepassionPoem;priderespectself knowledge

The author SimonSomlai


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  1. A friend of mine, who was in radio recited this poem on public radio and it was so popular we had to include in our program every month of so. It is a successful poem because it brings about an emotion in you,…… be it a smile, a tear drop or a light going off in your head…… an epiphany of sorts. I enjoy it every time I read it or hear it recited or read. This is a classic example of what a poem should be. .

  2. I had to look this up because they quoted part of it in the movie ‘Southie’.
    I’m thinking like beer glass- what glass- but of course he meant mirror.

  3. As I was walking out of my vice principles after giving my choice of either quitting school or being kick out in my Jr. year, Of course because I was so cool, I quit. He wanted to read me something before I left his office, it was this poem ! When he was done reading, he replied You can now leave Randy with an ear to ear grin on his face. All my plans and ego based deceit of a scared little boy emerged from me and I truly was alone.
    A few months before this happened my Vice Principle looked directly at me during a school assembly I so rudely interrupted.After a few laughs and disruption a moment of silence came across the gymnasium and all my peers were stunned with the first word that came from his mouth that pierce into my soul, Self esteem he said in the loud microphone. After a moment of silence come over us all he started talking about Self esteem. I had not a clue as to what he was talking about and I knew I didn`t have any.
    Long story short. My vice principle got me real good that year, some how he managed to cause me to look at me. The cool evaporated from me in my Junior year of high school.
    Looking back, this story still brings tears to my eyes because it is part of my recovery story. I am pretty sure my Vice principle was my first sponsor. Thank God I have had recovering Alcoholics tell me the hard truth about me. only an alcoholic can reach another one.
    Thank you for letting me share my story with you.

  4. As a trade teacher of apprentices in the Australian system of Technical and further Education (TAFE) in the 80’s and 90’s I have played the Slim Dusty version to all of my final Year Apprentices. At the end of the poem there was often dead silence. Here we are nearly 40 years later and I still have a few of my past students that come up to me and mention that they remember that poem and how it made them have a new look at themselves and their life.

  5. I grew up knowing this poem and it has never left my memory. At 58 years old it is still a great poem to live by.

    1. At 73 it has been my motto since I got Clean from Drugs and Alcohol and cigarettes in 1980 a little over 40 years ago

  6. Yes as a young man that liked to party take chances , thinking about alcohol dependency, read this poem many times, Found peace with my creator and gave myself the greatest gift offered to mankind, forgiveness though the gift of Jesus,

  7. My favourite. To me it’s about living life with integrity & striving to keep a clear consciounse. Be real with yourself, look at your behavior good & bad, not delusional. At the end of the day most important opinion of opinion of you is yours. Pretty much “don’t be an as*hole”.

  8. Our doubt’s are traitors and makes us loose the good we often might win by fearing to admit to the “man in the glass”

  9. It’s great to receive praise, accolades and awards from individuals and organizations. It usually means you stack up well when compared to others in your field. But do they really know if you gave your best? The man in the mirror does. Teach that man to believe you have no limits.

  10. The point is very meaningful to me that this poem Was shared by a former student of many years ago. Even if the man in the mirror looks like as though he were 80 years old, I do feel that he is saying to me hey, you’re still here, Consider it lucky to be alive!

  11. It is the thought behind the thought… behind the thought.
    It is what drives us to do what we do.

  12. Don’t worry about what other people think of you. As long as you feel like you have treated you and your body as you should then that’s all that matters.

  13. Soooo very fitting to me as recovered Alcoholic! Every word is true, painful and soothing. The mirror speaks the truth! It leaves me with a choice for the rest of my life.
    Thank you very much.

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