—after Richard Jones                                         

Then, it was easy to believe
the gentle world to be
sad. While rereading
for class, feeling
the old and scribbling
a few new remarks
in the margins
of thick anthologies, heavy
as brick—
       (denying Pope
       his idiotic confidence
       in the dumb licking
       of a gamboling lamb;
       seconding Ivan Ilyich
       in all his too-late
       second-guessings, the
       light he could only see
       at the bottom
       of his suffocating sack;
       or granting Beckett’s
       every twisted take,
       those mad clowns marooned
       at the dead ends
       of their imaginations)
—I’d think of my students,
strolling across campus
in their innocence
to my classroom,
where, for fifty minutes,
I’d rant and they’d maybe
consider the many things
that couldn’t make us happy.

             —first published in Coe Review

About the Author

D. R. James, a year+ into retirement from nearly 40 years of teaching college writing, literature, and peace studies, lives, writes, and cycles with his psychotherapist wife in the woods near Saugatuck, Michigan. His latest of ten collections are Mobius Trip and Flip Requiem (Dos Madres Press, 2021, 2020), and his prose and poems have appeared internationally in a wide variety of print and online anthologies and journals.