The Face In The Glass by Dale Wimbrow

I guess I could say this is my favorite poem since it is the one that I think of the most and what it teaches us.

 When you get what you want in your struggle for self
And the world makes you king for a day,
Just go to a mirror and look at yourself
And see what that face has to say

For it isn’t your father or mother or wife
Whose judgment upon you must pass,
The person whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the one staring back from the glass.

Some people might think you’re a straight-shootin’ chum
And call you a great gal or guy,
But the face in the glass says you’re only a bum
If you can’t look it straight in the eye.

That’s the one you must please, never mind all the rest,
That’s the one with you clear to the end,
And you know you have passed your most dangerous test
If the face in the glass is your friend.

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

Dale Wimbrow (June 6, 1895–1954) was an American composer, radio artist and writer. He is best known for the poem, The Guy in the Glass, written in 1934. Peter Dale Wimbrow was born June 6, 1895, in Whaleyville, Maryland. He studied at Western Maryland College until World War I.

Wimbrow’s early career was in music and radio. Under his own name and as Old Pete Daley of Whaleysville, he became known for his records and radio performances with orchestras.

Wimbrow established the Indian River News newspaper in June 1948. It was published until September 1966, 12 years after his death in 1954, carried on by his wife.

Wimbrow wrote The Guy in the Glass for publication in The American Magazine in 1934. The poem became a popular clipping passed between people, and the author’s credit was often dropped, leading to inquiries as to the author in newspapers as early as 1938.

Ann Landers printed the poem in her column on October 5, 1983, incorrectly attributing it to an anonymous man who died as a result of struggles with drug abuse. Landers received numerous letters that attributed or claimed different authorship of the poem, but only one of the letters published in her December 5, 1983

I first read this poem to my students when I was still teaching. It was published in the textbook we were using and the poem was attributed to an anonymous man.


Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

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4 responses to “The Face In The Glass by Dale Wimbrow”

  1. The last word of the first line is “pelf,” not self. Pelf is an old word meaning money…A lot of people incorrectly assume that’s a typo and change it to self. This poem was actually published in American Mercury Magazine, in response to a contest regarding a young man’s letter bemoaning his chances for riches. Peter Dale WImbrow’s son (PDW, Jr. is the person who corrected the authorship in Ann Lander’s column.

  2. That is a beautiful, thought provoking poem. I am pretty hard on myself most of the time. It’s a wonder I even like myself. This is a great reminder that kindness starts with the self.

  3. Reblogged this on kcm1976's Blog and commented:

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