To Certain Friends
F.R. Scott, F.R. Scott: Selected Poems (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1966): 44-45.
1I see my friends now standing about me, bemused,
2Eyeing me dubiously as I pursue my course,
3Clutching their little less that is world's away.
4Full of good will, they greet me with offers of help,
5Now and then with the five-dollar-bill of evasion,
6Sincere in their insincerity; believing, in unbelief.
7The nation's needs are to them considerable problems.
8Often they play no bridge nor sit at the movies,
9Preferring to hear some expert discuss every angle.
10They show great zeal collecting the news and statistics.
11They know far more about every question than I do,
12But their knowledge of how to use knowledge grows smaller and smaller.
13They make a virtue of having an open mind,
14Open to endless arrivals of other men's suggestions,
15To the rain of facts that deepens the drought of the will.
16Above all they fear the positive formation of opinion,
17The essential choice that acts as a mental compass,
18The clear perception of the road to the receding horizon.
19For this would mean leaving the shade of the middle ground
20To walk in the open air, and in unknown places;
21Might lead, perhaps-dread thought!-to definite action.
22They will grow old seeking to avoid conclusions,
23Refusing to learn by living, to test by trying,
24Letting opportunities slip from their tentative fingers,
25Till one day, after the world has tired of waiting,
26While they are busy arguing about the obvious,
27A half-witted demagogue will walk away with their children.
RPO poem Editors:
Ian Lancashire / Sharine Leung
Copyright © the estate of F. R. Scott. Included
with the generous permission of William Toye, his literary executor.