Dec. 30, 2002

My Agent Says

by R. S. Gwynn

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Poem: "My Agent Says," by R.S. Gwynn from No Word of Farewell: Selected Poems 1970-2000 (Story Line Press).

My Agent Says

My agent says Los Angeles will call.
My broker says to sell without delay.
My doctor says the spot is very small.
My lover says get tested right away.

My congressman says yes, he truly cares.
My bottle says he'll see me after five.
My mirror says to pluck a few stray hairs.
My mother says that she is still alive.

My leader says we may have seen the worst.
My mistress says her eyes are like the sun.
My bride says that it's true I'm not the first.
My landlord says he'd think about a gun.

My boss says that I'd better take a chair.
My enemy says turn the other cheek.
My rival says that all in love is fair.
My brother says he's coming for a week.

My teacher says my work is very neat.
My ex-wife says I haven't heard the last.
My usher says the big guy's in my seat.
My captain says to bind him to the mast.

My master says I must be taught my place.
My conscience says my schemes will never fly.
My father says he doesn't like my face.
My lawyer says I shouldn't testify.

My buddy says this time I've got it bad.
My first love says she can't recall my name.
My baby says my singing makes her sad.
My dog says that she loves me all the same.

My pastor says to walk the narrow path.
My coach says someone else will get the ball.
My God says I shall bend beneath his wrath.
My agent says Los Angeles may call.

It's the birthday of writer Sara Lidman, born in Missenträsk, Västerbotten, in Sweden (1923). She wrote The Tar Still (1953), and Cloudberry Land (1955) and a number of other novels set in the small villages of rural northern Sweden where she grew up.

It's the birthday of Paul Bowles, born in New York City (1910). He wrote The Sheltering Sky (1949). He lived most of his life in exile in France and Morocco.

It's the birthday of Stephen Leacock, born in Hampshire, England (1869). He wrote Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town (1912), and Arcadian Adventures of the Idle Rich (1914). He began a brilliant career as a political economist, but his family needed money, and he started to write humor pieces for Canadian magazines in his spare time, and to travel as a public lecturer. Eventually he grew to be one of the best-known humorists in the English-speaking world. He spent most of his career at McGill University. He wrote, "Lord Ronald said nothing; he flung himself from the room, flung himself upon his horse and rode madly off in all directions."

It's the birthday of Rudyard Kipling, born in Bombay, India (1865). He wrote Kim (1901), and The Jungle Book (1894), and he was the first British writer to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. He was born in India, educated in England, and then returned to India, where he worked as a newspaper reporter, writing stories about British colonial society for English papers. He supplied filler and verse to go in the dead spaces between the stories, collected in Departmental Ditties (1886) and Plain Tales from the Hills (1888), books that made him famous in Britain well before he returned there to live. His reputation grew, and he was nominated for many honors, including Poet Laureate. He declined this post, and most of the others, but he wrote in the Laureate style; exhorting his countrymen to uphold the Empire: "Take up the White Man's burden- / Send forth the best ye breed / Go bind your sons to exile / To serve your captives' need…"

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®




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