Thursday, June 7, 2012

the writers almanac

i heard this today and i wanted it in my life. like poems that reach you and never forget you, i wanted it like that. maybe you too.
jP jun 7 12

"The Old Gentleman" by Alden Nowlan

If you want to ask a question, the chairman said, begin by giving us your name and address.

So the old gentleman seated near the back of the auditorium, when it came his turn, said he was Louis St. Laurent and came from Quebec;

and we all of us laughed: because that's who he was and it was the kind of little joke one expected of an elderly former prime minister;

but the next time he said the same thing

and the time after that, said it quite simply

and it became obvious it wasn't meant to be funny,

wasn't meant to be anything other than courteous,

like his holding open the door for whoever happened to reach it at the same time he did

and never lighting a cigarette without offering the pack to the person in front and the person behind and the persons seated on either side of him.

"The Old Gentleman" by Alden Nowlan, from Selected Poems. © House of Anansi Press, 1996. Reprinted with permission.

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