Wednesday, June 30, 2010

So I'm sitting on Robert Frost's front porch, drinking a beer and reading Middlemarch, and along comes this boy, about 18 years old, tall and curly-haired; and he plops himself down on a table and looks me in the eye and says, "Are you a poet?"

I say, "Why, yes," and then he crosses his arms and leans back and says, still staring me in the eye,
"'The Charge of the Light Brigade' is the bomb."
I do what anyone would do, which is to become slack-jawed and slightly dizzy. Undeterred, he remarks that Alfred Lord Tennyson is his favorite poet, that he'd accidentally discovered Tennyson's poems in a book in his grandfather's house; also, that he hasn't quite gotten his brain around "In Memoriam" and that other long stuff but "The Eagle" and "The Kracken" are also the bomb.

Eventually I see that I have no choice but to walk down to my car and dig out a copy of my new book for this boy, who happens to be hiking the Appalachian Trail with his dad. The boy seems to be very pleased with the gift. He admires the thinness of my collection, which he says will make it easy to carry on the trail, and he promises to email me with his remarks. Really, I can't wait.

1 comment:

Maureen said...

I laughed out loud at this post, recalling the first time I heard my son's friends respond "Word" to something said. "Word" meant in the particular case, "Got it, that's cool." Or "Bomb", indeed.

I hope you'll share the boy's remarks on your poetry with us.