From My Commonplace Book - 8

Robert Sat

by Tom Matthews

The congregation was scandalized
When Robert sat in his pew and read a paperback

My mother said afterwards
"If he wasn't interested why did he come"

And I marvelled at her
For she never thought to apply the criterion to me

And I marvelled at Robert too
Able to read so calmly in the midst of so much hate

Robert is doing very well thank you
He emigrated to Canada
And broke both his legs in a skiing accident
And married a nurse


Irish poet Tom Matthews (1945-2003) made his living as a chemist. I discovered this poem of his in the anthology Ireland in Poetry, edited by Charles Sullivan.

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And I marvelled at Robert too
Able to read so calmly in the midst of so much hate
which I think of being calm in the face of illness....How can one be calm in the face of illness?

(Marrying a nurse, on the other hand, is not a bad idea:))
 

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