The Stick-together Families Poem Summary & Line by Line Explanation in English


The poem by Edgar Albert Guest highlights the importance of family and distinguishes between two types of people. One type from them is successful in finding happiness, while the other wanders in its search. The poem consists of four stanzas, each having six lines. The poem follows the couplet rhyme scheme- aabbcc.

Stanza 1

The stick-together families are happier by far
Than the brothers and the sisters who take separate highways are.
The gladdest people living are the wholesome folks who make
A circle at the fireside that no power but death can break.
And the finest of conventions ever held beneath the sun
Are the little family gatherings when the busy day is done.

The poem begins by stating that joint families are way happier than those who take separate highways, in essence, who live in nuclear families. The gladdest people are the ones that gather around the fire in a circle, forming a bond, that only death can break. The finest conventions- gatherings, held under the sun are the little family gatherings after a busy day.

Stanza 2

There are rich folk, there are poor folk, who imagine they are wise,
And they're very quick to shatter all the little family ties.
Each goes searching after pleasure in his own selected way,
Each with strangers likes to wander, and with strangers likes to play.
But it's bitterness they harvest, and it's empty joy they find,
For the children that are wisest are the stick-together kind.

The rich and poor, both think of themselves as very wise and very quickly shatter family relations. Each goes in pursuit of pleasure on their own selected path, they like the company of strangers, but they attain no joy and harvest disappointment. The wisest are the children that stick together with their kin.

Stanza 3

There are some who seem to fancy that for gladness they must roam,
That for smiles that are the brightest they must wander far from home.
That the strange friend is the true friend, and they travel far astray
they waste their lives in striving for a joy that's far away,
But the gladdest sort of people, when the busy day is done,
Are the brothers and the sisters who together share their fun.

Some people think that for gladness theymust wander, that for happiness they have to travel far from home. These people seem to believe that strangers are their true friends, and they drift away further from the right path. They waste their time by looking for joy in the wrong places. However, the gladdest folks are the ones that after having a tiring day, come together and have fun.

Stanza 4

It's the stick-together family that wins the joys of earth,
That hears the sweetest music and that finds the finest mirth;
It's the old home roof that shelters all the charm that life can give;
There you find the gladdest play-ground, there the happiest spot to live.
And, O weary, wandering brother, if contentment you would win,
Come you back unto the fireside and be comrade with your kin.

The stick-together family wins the happiness on earth. Laughter is described as the sweetest music. The roof of the old abode is where the charms of life are found. In that house is the gladdest playground, and it is the happiest spot to live. The poem concludes with the poet calling the tired wanderer and asking them to return to the fireside and be with their family.