Thursday, March 22, 2018

"Harold's Samaritan" by Mary Soon Lee

Harold's Samaritan
Mary Soon Lee
"Stranger" Watercolor on Paper
By J. Artemus Gordon
Maybe you saw him on the bus
reading the latest Harry Bosch novel
and said, "That's a great book!"
and he looked up at you
before his awkwardness
caught up with him
and burst out "I love it."

And though you didn't ask his name
or suggest a cup of coffee,
that gesture hoisted him
out of his muddied descent into gloom.

So that, later that day,
when he read the signs
on the laundromat notice board,
he scrabbled in his pockets for a pen
to jot down the phone number
of the monthly book club,
the book club he'll thank
for changing his life.

He won't remember you,
you won't remember him.

Poet's Notes:  This is a poem about an invented character of mine, Harold, who features in a number of poems about an imaginary book club. Prior to joining the book club, Harold is a lonely, gloomy man. The book club brings him friendship. The poem is also about how our interactions with strangers can have unseen ramifications, small acts of kindness rippling outward. One of the poems about the book club was previously published in Songs of Eretz Poetry Review http://www.songsoferetz.com/2016/01/poem-of-day-readers-auxiliary-meeting.html. 

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