mjj (flemmings) wrote,


A patient man am I, down to my fingertips,
The sort who never could, ever would,
Let an insulting remark escape his lips.
A very gentle man.


whenever I'm out in the neighbourhood shovelling snow, say, or clearing ice from drains, or as today, raking a mat of sodden leaves from the street gutters so they'll dry out before Thursday's scheduled downpour creates the lake effect at all corners the way Saturday's did, there's always one bloody oyaji who comes up to tell me that The City Ought To Do That. Yes well, say I mildly, the city has twenty square miles of streets to clean and a limited budget and I don't expect to see them this week for sure. At which oyaji solemnly declares, 'Well, *I* wouldn't do that.' And I smile Buddhistically and continue raking and do not say 'No you wouldn't, because you're a lead-assed tits on a bull layabout and the term 'individual responsibility' is not in your vocabulary.' I say it here, and feel much better for having done so.

(Women who talk to me at such times just say thank you. Or offer a basket to put the leaves in, as signora down the street did today. To be fair, so do a lot of the guys. But there's always that One Oyaji.)

There was a poem in one of my grade school readers that starts
A MAN! A man! There is a man loose in Canada,
A man of heroic mould, a 'throwback' of earlier ages,
Vigorous, public-spirited, not afraid of work!
A doer of deeds, not a dreamer and babbler;
It's very long and over-written and can be found here. It's about an anonymous man who moves a large stone that's sat in the middle of the road forever:
Dug out the stone and made it a matter of laughter,
For it was no boulder, deep-rooted, needing dynamite,
But just a little stone, about the size of a milk pail.
A child might have moved it, and yet it had bumped us
For three generations because we lacked public spirit.
Even in grade school, I was convinced it was a woman moved that stone.
Tags: rl_13, verse

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