The Poet within Jimmy Stewart


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Jimmy Stewart was a man that the average person could relate to.  Films such as “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” and “The Philadelphia Story,” (the movie for which he won the Oscar for best actor) solidified him as an integral part of classic cinema history.  During the holidays, it is impossible not to instantly think of him as the infamous George Bailey from “It’s A Wonderful Life.”  That movie in particular remains heart-warming, a part of holiday tradition, regardless of the passing years.  He was a man of many talents, and who was known by his fellow actors as being a man that they could always rely on.


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This wonderful actor also had one other prominent talent, that many people did not know about until 1989 (making Jimmy Stewart 81 years old).  He was a writer of poetry.  Throughout the years, he would write his poems as the inspiration came to him, saving each one.  It was in 1989 that Crown Publishers Inc., published his collection of poetry, turning it into the book entitled, “Jimmy Stewart and his poems.” After some searching I was able to located the words to one of his works called, “Beau.”  It was written in response to the passing of his dog.  From the words and emotions of this poem, it is clear that Jimmy believed that dogs are a man’s best friend.

He never came to me when I would call
Unless I had a tennis ball,
Or he felt like it,
But mostly he didn’t come at all.

When he was young
He never learned to heel
Or sit or stay,
He did things his way.

Discipline was not his bag
But when you were with him things sure didn’t drag.
He’d dig up a rosebush just to spite me,
And when I’d grab him, he’d turn and bite me.

He bit lots of folks from day to day,
The delivery boy was his favorite prey.
The gas man wouldn’t read our meter,
He said we owned a real man-eater.

He set the house on fire
But the story’s long to tell.
Suffice it to say that he survived
And the house survived as well.

On the evening walks, and Gloria took him,
He was always first out the door.
The Old One and I brought up the rear
Because our bones were sore.

He would charge up the street with Mom hanging on,
What a beautiful pair they were!
And if it was still light and the tourists were out,
They created a bit of a stir.

But every once in a while, he would stop in his tracks
And with a frown on his face look around.
It was just to make sure that the Old One was there
And would follow him where he was bound.

We are early-to-bedders at our house–
I guess I’m the first to retire.
And as I’d leave the room he’d look at me
And get up from his place by the fire.

He knew where the tennis balls were upstairs,
And I’d give him one for a while.
He would push it under the bed with his nose
And I’d fish it out with a smile.

And before very long
He’d tire of the ball
And be asleep in his corner
In no time at all.

And there were nights when I’d feel him
Climb upon our bed
And lie between us,
And I’d pat his head.

And there were nights when I’d feel this stare
And I’d wake up and he’d be sitting there
And I reach out my hand and stroke his hair.
And sometimes I’d feel him sigh
and I think I know the reason why.

He would wake up at night
And he would have this fear
Of the dark, of life, of lots of things,
And he’d be glad to have me near.

And now he’s dead.
And there are nights when I think I feel him
Climb upon our bed and lie between us,
And I pat his head.

And there are nights when I think
I feel that stare
And I reach out my hand to stroke his hair,
But he’s not there.

Oh, how I wish that wasn’t so,
I’ll always love a dog named Beau.

I was also fortunate enough to locate the clip via youtube, in which Jimmy orates his poem on the Johnny Carson show.  It is incredibly moving and a unique bit of history. Click here to see the video!


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