T. S. Eliot has made it to Broadway

T. S. Eliot has made it to Broadway,
and calculus hasn’t.

I have seen those trousers rolled
on tired women and retired men.
I have seen old men
with their hair parted
just behind the ear
with a few thin strands
stretched across their pate.
I have seen them walk
along the beach
and not dare to eat a peach
or a slice of red roast beef
or drink a cup of decaffeinated coffee
after 4:00 p.m.,
and I wonder—
when does caution become reason?

And I wonder,
did any of these men,
did any of these women ever ask,

Do I dare disturb the universe?

It takes more courage
to disturb the neighborhood
than it does
to disturb the universe.

Those who disturb
the universe
have a need
for solitude.

When I examine myself
and my methods of thought,
I come to the conclusion
that the gift of fantasy
has meant more to me
than my talent
for absorbing
positive knowledge.

Perhaps, some day
solitude
will come to be
properly recognized
and appreciated
as the teacher
of personality.
The individual
who has experienced
solitude
will not easily
become a victim
of mass suggestion.

/ / /

This is a found poem. Source: Konigsburg, E. L. “Between a Peach and the Universe” Innocence and Experience: Essays and Conversations on Children’s Literature, compiled and edited by Barbara Harrison and Gregory Maguire, Lothrop, Lee, & Shepard Books, 1987, pp. 464-476.

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