Thursday, November 10, 2011

Donal Mahoney- A Poem

The Grammar Years
On that train an hour ago,
I saw a teacher I had years ago
but he did not see me.
A proper man was he
who in the margins of my papers
wrote his sermons in a script
so perfect and so neat
they looked like samplers.
But on that train an hour ago
I glowed in exultation when I saw
his index finger curl and pluck
a small erratum from his nose.

Decades ago, when tuition at a good university was $30 a credit hour, 
I stayed in graduate school in English because I hoped to become 
a writer. Then a professor told me that publishing fiction or poetry 
would not get me tenure. Instead I had to publish criticism of other 
people's work. Right then I quit because I knew I'd rather be carrion 
than the hyena that eats it.

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