Friday, May 29, 2009

Words from Jimmy Carter

My cousin Tom Kerrigan signed me up for Garrison Keillor's Writer's Almanac, which I receive in my email every day. These lines from Jimmy Carter -- yes, that Jimmy Carter, I was surprised too -- led off today's mailing.

ABAB CDED FGHG IIJJ is a little idiosyncratic. Couldn't dance to it either. But I like it anyway.

Progress Does Not Always Come Easy
by Jimmy Carter

As a legislator in my state
I drew up my first law to say
that citizens could never vote again
after they had passed away.

My fellow members faced the troubling issue
bravely, locked in hard debate
on whether, after someone's death had come,
three years should be adequate

to let the family, recollecting him,
determine how a loved one may
have cast a vote if he had only lived
to see the later voting day.

My own neighbors warned me I had gone
too far in changing what we'd always done.
I lost the next campaign, and failed to carry
a single precinct with a cemetery.

"Progress Does Not Always Come Easy" by Jimmy Carter, from
Always A Reckoning, © Random House, 1995.

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