When he was a little bit of a fellow,
He regrets that he had never read deeply
And widely too, with a dictionary
At his side, so he'd be less tempted
To postulate the momentousness of words.
But when we're ten years old we're in a rush,
Aiming at reading sixty pages an hour.
And reading a book twice isn't an option.
Now he's old the days go faster than death,
Yet he reads more slowly than a Buddhist prayer.
It's as if he has all eternity to enjoy.
So now he looks up unfamiliar words,
Savoring them deliciously and deeply,
But, when they return, he's forgotten them.
I don't know a thing about the dead.
Maybe they are still alive, who knows?
Mother has been dead for twenty years,
But maybe she inhabits another world.
Now and then I seem to feel her presence,
But she never lets me know what's going on.
If there is another happier world
Maybe she doesn't want to let me know.
You'll find out some day, I hear her say,
But that might only be my sad desire.
Perhaps she has completely forgotten me
And all the pain I caused her way back when.
I miss you, mother. It's sad to see father
Struggling along without your loveliness.
Out of the ambient semi-silence comes
Without the slightest warning a cry of joy
And perfect erotic pleasure and fulfilment.
It was always the Frenchman in the white cap
Who for months was the only one to visit.
But now he’s gone and now there is another.
And this one's quiet at any time of night
Or even day unless he’s working shifts.
But he makes her laugh. She laughs a lot.
I’d do the same if I were in his shoes.
Don’t you love to see your neighbors happy?
Of course you do. Don’t we all? Especially if
They’re so terribly happy the way we are,
For shouldn’t we all be happy as little kings?
David W. McFadden began writing poetry in 1956 and began publishing poetry in 1958. Why Are You So Sad? Selected Poems of David W. McFadden (Insomniac Press, 2007) was shortlisted for the 2008 Griffin Poetry Prize and Be Calm, Honey (Mansfield Press, 2008) was shortlisted for the 2009 Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry (his third such nomination).
What’s the Score? (Mansfield Press, 2012) was recently announced as part of the Canadian shortlist of the 2013 Griffin Poetry Prize, the winner of which will be announced in Toronto on Thursday, June 13, 2013.
McFadden is the author of about thirty-five books of poetry, fiction and travel writing. He lives in Toronto.
the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan