Meditation on “Death of a Salesman”

“Sometimes…it’s better for a man just to walk away.
But if you can’t walk away?
I guess that’s when it’s tough.”
― Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman

Sometimes, I see the fog bank
As I drive;
And know that I’m worth more dead
Than alive

No value judged, just
Economic fact;
Not something on which I
Would ever act

But just like Willy Loman,
I, as well,
Have only this:
I can sell

My All-Time Favorite Summer Read

Our bus was parked – somewhere.  A shopping mall.
Some college singers, two weeks gone nonstop:
Four hours to waste for fun, and so we all
(Except for one) got out to eat and shop.

That one, he had a book he had just bought
And started reading on that very day.
He couldn’t put it down, though thrice was sought
To join the others in the mall cafe.

The book: by Charles Dickens. And it’s plot
Concerned an older boy whose father died;
Who had to earn his keep, and learn a lot,
Who mid humiliation, kept his pride.

A book I loved and did not want to end:
That still today, I highly recommend.



(The book, by the way, was “Nicholas Nickleby” by Charles Dickens, and since my mother did not own a copy, I did not know it existed.)


First reading, he had to take stock of himself:

He’s not the steady, industrious type
He’s not the grasping, ambitious type
And cowardice is a flaw —
But smart he was always supposed to be
And so he inferred, as he read, that was He —
He was a Ravenclaw

Then he looked again at the end of the books:

That he would be a loyal to all his friends
But he could still strive for his personal ends
And try to be brave at that —
So maybe the Ravenclaw part of He
Is good, but not all that he can be
For he is more
Than that

A Carton of Memories

An Extreme Tale

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” — Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

When was the last time that sentence accurately described your life?


I was only fourteen and
Was suffering in grade nine
A lonely frightened freshman
Seeking then to redefine

Myself into a man or maybe
A grown boy, at least;
In spite of my best efforts
I was much less man than beast

And it was in my English class
That Ms. Hornbuckle taught
That we began to read a book
I grew to like a lot

And by about, oh, halfway through
A lifelong love was set:
For I was reading Dickens
And I haven’t finished yet

The bloody revolution off in France
Where it took place;
It took my from my worries
Back through time, and at a pace

Breathtaking in its drama. And
When we approached the end
The pattern had emerged, and I
Began to read again

This wondrous book, so full of hate
And love, and so much more:
It was a far, far better book
Than I had read before

So I had found in Dickens
Much to reread and to savor –
And though no Sydney Carton
Might have been
Just a touch