Monday, December 21, 2015

William Meredith


The Illiterate 
by William Meredith 

Touching your goodness, I am like a man 
Who turns a letter over in his hand, 
And you might think this was because the hand 
Was unfamiliar, but truth is the man 
Has never had a letter from anyone; 
And now he is both afraid of what it means 
And ashamed because he has no other means 
To find out what it says than to ask someone. 

His uncle could have left the store to him, 
Or his parents died before he sent them word, 
Or the dark girl changed and want him for her lover. 
Afraid and letter-proud he keeps it with him. 
What would you call his pleasure in the words 
That keep him rich and orphaned and beloved?

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