The Perfect Dinner Table Edgar Guest A tablecloth that's slightly soiled Where greasy little hands have toiled; The napkins kept in silver rings, And only ordinary things From which to eat, a simple fare, And just the wife and kiddies there, And while I serve, the clatter glad Of little girl and little lad Who have so very much to say About the happenings of the day. Four big round eyes that dance with glee, Forever flashing joys at me, Two little tongues that race and run To tell of troubles and of fun; The mother with a patient smile Who knows that she must wait awhile Before she'll get a chance to say What she's discovered through the day. She steps aside for girl and lad Who have so much to tell their dad. Our manners may not be the best; Perhaps our elbows often rest Upon the table, and at times That very worst of dinner crimes, That very shameful act and rude Of speaking ere you've downed your food, Too frequently, I fear, is done, So fast the little voices run. Yet why should table manners stay Those tongues that have so much to say? At many a table I have been Where wealth and luxury were seen, And I have dined in halls of pride Where all the guests were dignified; But when it comes to pleasure rare The perfect dinner table's where No stranger's face is ever known: The dinner hour we spend alone, When little girl and little lad Run riot telling things to dad.