Tuesday, January 10

Cowardly decisions

I was just at the Well Fed Head for their book club. After the discussion (of the forgettable book that you don't want me to mention) on my way out of the store, I stopped briefly by the poetry section.

I saw a book that whispered intently and repeatedly, "buy me. buy me. you never know when you'll see me again."

This was the new edition of Poets from the North of Ireland. I also saw an attractive copy of The Redress of Poetry by Seamus Heaney. But that's poetry criticism. And I'm not so much a fan of poetry criticism as I am of poetry, the thing itself.

This Poets from the North of Ireland book had the unusual find in a used bookstore that you might not ever see again in your life quality that some books sometimes have. It's like the book Thirty-three Minnesota Poets from Nodin Press that I bought at the Well Fed Head over a year ago. Surely it was a small press run.

So anyhow, I just got home, opened up the book and found a poem that fits in with the whole theme of this blog.

I'll share it with you.

On the Waterfront by Michael Foley

There's no such thing as a life
that wasn't meant for the person who has it.
- Louis Simpson

We think our loved ones pull us under
So unfairly
Interfering with demands that end our
High hopes early.
I could have been a contender.
It was you Charlie.

We're always handed loaded dice
In this vale of woe.
It's not your night, kid. We're going for the price.
How well we know
Charlie's unignorable advice.
- But is it so?

Could Terry have taken Wilson apart
As he thought?
Did he really have the heart
For a title shot
-Or were we biased from the start
By a strong crude plot?

You should never blame an outcome
On conditions
Or people. When you end up a bum
Breeding pigeons
Accept the fault's your own dumb
Cowardly decisions.

Well, there it is. And I'm hoping these minor aches and pains I feel in my legs are really minor sorts of things. I hope I run hard and run smart. I hope I don't make cowardly decisions. If I don't complete this marathon on June 3 in South Bend, it won't be anybody's fault but my own.


Blogger Rebecca said...

true enough: people have more responsibility (and hence more power) in their lives than they want to admit.

we don't all start equally, in equal situations.

and i've heard arguments like the one that poem makes used to say we shouldn't bother to help the homeless... though no one said it about the iraqis.

my take: take control of your own life. but don't judge people who've lost control of theirs: sometimes a little bit of help at the right moment makes all the difference between someone trying to get their life on track, and someone actually doing it.


January 11, 2006 10:20 AM  

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