Mindy Hardwick's Blog

Author Mindy Hardwick Muses about Writing

The Man in the Glass Poem

on April 20, 2012
There is a scene in my upcoming YA romance, WEAVING MAGIC, where newly sober main character, Christopher, talks about a poem he read while in treatment. That poem is “The Man in the Glass.”
“The Man in the Glass” has  been a favorite poem around AA for a long time.  AA legend has it that the poem was scrawled on the walls of death row in San Quentin prison by a nameless author. It is actually the work of Peter “Dale” Winbrow Sr (1895-1954), who published it in 1934.
There is also a version, The Gal in the Glass.

The Man In The Glass

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 judgment upon you must pass.
The fellow whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the one 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,
For he’s with you clear to the end.
And you’ve passed your most dangerous, difficult test
If the man 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 man in the glass.

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