Saturday, May 10, 2014


What shall I call him? Ten years further on
He’ll be my father but now, 1941, he is fifteen
At one in the morning, as usual
He is awake. The new day expects
To find him reading or thinking
Or raising a casual hand to welcome it.

In the kitchen, his mother sits rapt,
Reading a newspaper she has saved since 1924.
Real news endures though the pages are yellow.
In a few moments she’ll climb to the attic room
Bringing her youngest an apple, a cookie,
Some tea with lemon in a blue glass cup.

In 1905 in Dublin, New Hampshire
Patrick McAleer held a rabbit
I have seen the photograph of them
Captioned Patrick McAleer holding a rabbit
The rabbit – small, brown, alert -- looks untroubled;
He, though, would have called the picture
Rabbit in landscape, with McAleer.
It is hard to tell if McAleer is smiling
His enormous mustache hides his lips
But he is certainly calm; pleased, I think,
That he, the rabbit, the leafless trees behind them
Are so casually become immortal.

(Patrick McAleer was quite real, as was the rabbit. They both worked for Mark Twain. I suspect that McAleer was the Patrick who was Jonathan Swift's servant {see Journal to Stella, which you really should read} -- he has that look about him).

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