Verse – Jackie was the most kind

In 1969 I started Duke
to get a Ph.D. They gave me ten
long years to finish, but for me it took
a bit more time… I had a job, and then
two kids, and boy, could I procrastinate.
A great new novel to be read, a cause
to join, a film to see, a verse to write…

I hired two friends, good Joe, who failed because
he was too kind believing every lie.
But Jackie, who seemed sweet, looked in my eye
and gave me hell. And so I worked and wrote.
The Duke degree I finally earned, I note
four decades later, came because of two:
one nice, one mean–and finally I was through.

  • Steve Shoemaker, Urbana, IL, Dec. 7, 2015

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