To Certain Friends

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I see my friends now standing about me, bemused,Eyeing me dubiously as I pursue my course,Clutching their little less that is world's away.

Full of good will, they greet me with offers of help,Now and then with the five-dollar-bill of evasion,Sincere in their insincerity; believing, in unbelief.

The nation's needs are to them considerable problems.Often they play no bridge nor sit at the movies,Preferring to hear some expert discuss every angle.

They show great zeal collecting the news and statistics.They know far more about every question than I do,But their knowledge of how to use knowledge grows smaller and smaller.

They make a virtue of having an open mind,Open to endless arrivals of other men's suggestions,To the rain of facts that deepens the drought of the will.

Above all they fear the positive formation of opinion,The essential choice that acts as a mental compass,The clear perception of the road to the receding horizon.

For this would mean leaving the shade of the middle groundTo walk in the open air, and in unknown places;Might lead, perhaps-dread thought!-to definite action.

They will grow old seeking to avoid conclusions,Refusing to learn by living, to test by trying,Letting opportunities slip from their tentative fingers,

Till one day, after the world has tired of waiting,While they are busy arguing about the obvious,A half-witted demagogue will walk away with their children.

© Scott Francis Reginald