Since today, like yesterday and tomorrow and twenty five days after that, is part of National Poetry Month, here's another poem. And since it's too long to put on the front page (but not too too long), it's below the fold.
Don't we still worship the goddess Justice
Still believe the race goes to the swift,
The literal race if not the metaphoric,
Run on the local track when the wind is gentle,
The cinders firm and dry and level,
And a senior coach like Mr. Ruggieri
Stands at the finish line, stopwatch in hand,
Unbiased and incorruptible?
A gray-haired, soft-voiced man in a warm-up jacket
With a gift for spotting talent and bringing it forward,
Who wonders, as his last semester approaches,
If his gift might have been exercised in a field
Far more ample if he'd been smarter or luckier.
It seems a shame we can't offer him something
More heartening than a farewell banquet
With its testimonies of lasting appreciation.
It would be more like justice if we could assure him
The story he's nearly done with, set mainly in Buffalo,
Was meant as a restful interlude after his busy life
As prince of Parma and before the Asian adventures
Destined for his soul. A balm to say he's forgotten
The reception hall of Parian marble
Where every morning he lent his ear to petitioners,
The lowliest first, as his love for justice demanded.
After that, why not this stint as coach in a high school
While the parents to be next assigned him
Are born and raised in a village near Srinagar
Where later they'll meet and marry to the sound of chimes
Swaying in the breeze that cools the temple.
Twelve years from that day their son will be registered
In the temple school to study the holy arts
Of meditation and praise, of walking
From valley to mountain shrine
In the company of his staff and begging bowl.
Wouldn't these words to Mr. Ruggieri
After the banquet, as we drive him home,
Be just what's wanted to lift his spirits?
Then when he sat alone in the bedroom,
He'd be prepared if the shoes set by the bed
Looked lost in a dream of mountain trails
He'd never show them. "Just you wait,"
He could tell them; "just you be patient.
Your time is coming."
-- Carl Dennis