The Prospects of Loners
One kind of hermit, or curmudgeon—loner,
say (of the sort that does not take
a cabin on the outskirts, but insists
on grumbing through in town)— counts floorboards.
A second kind counts stars. But there’s a third
who cannot help himself, and does both.
Up, down, back and forth, he looks and struts,
or paces, frets and cares, with hope, despair,
a practically applied dreamer. He sees,
or studies, not only What holds everything
up, but dreams, if not dotes, on the magic Why:
and to render bearable the oscillations,
vacillations, equivocations, disappointments,
and the indefatigability of prospects,
has learned another way of looking
in order to survive, in counting — You.

James B. Nicola

If you have any comments on this poem, James B. Nicola would be pleased to hear from you.