The fellow tells me he too loves poetry,
but I gather, as I listen to him talk,
he’s the sort who reads no more
than what he finds in anthologies:
The Boy Stood on the Burning Deck
and other various and sundry dreck,
I imagine; he mentions a few Big Names
and I conclude he’s attracted to fame,
and not the hard stuff, or the obscure.
He knows a line or two of Yeats, and
maybe some Frost and Longfellow, so
he’s memorized something that will endure.
Our conversation ends; we won’t be friends,
but we’re friendly. I know how this will end:
him sending me something, asking what I think,
me tossing it aside, having another drink.
And yet, I scold myself for being so cold;
He’s a trace, however slight, of poetry in his soul.