WE want a man of forty for the job.
One who has enjoyed his little fill of romance.
And suffered intermittent indigestion ever since.
One whose memories are sufficiently cold
successfully to resist the embraces of truancy.
To whom a mountain
no longer looms an ideal
to scramble up and tumble down,
but is an actual thing made of stone
bristling with multitudinous edges
to bark one's shins or break one's neck upon.
To whom a lake or a river
or other body of water
no longer entices the search for one's likeness
(we only ask a man to be himself
and not go diving after phantoms),
but is a place one might readily drown in,
one's muscles no longer quite what they were.
Who has achieved
that ultimate disillusionment:
not to be able to differentiate
the respective features, limbs or what not
of his whilom Graces and Gwendolyns,
or if he could wouldn't want to,
would devote the rest of his days to a desk
piled sky high with ledgers and cash books:
Such a man would be certain to stick,
We want such a man for the job.

by Alfred Kreymborg

Other poems of ALFRED KREYMBORG (15)

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