Look who just became president of The Poetry Foundation. It’s Gordon The Pebble King and he is going to have fun, lots of fun learning the ins and outs of poetry and not just thinking all the time about pebbles and money.
Gordon had made his countless millions in pebbles. He also speculated in credit default swaps, mortgage-backed securities, collateralized debt obligations, and bought foreclosed houses on the cheap. Life in the desert is often very difficult. The wanderers search and search and one day you come upon their bleached bones. Gordon know it was not the best of times to have not one poem in his head, not one poem he could count on when he was feeling low or when the chips and pebbles were down.
Yes, he had learned John Greenleaf Whittier’s poem Barbara Frietchie when he was just a kid in public school, and yes he did think she was kind of sick in the head for offering her old grey head just so they wouldn’t shoot her country’s flag. But now he was a big boy playing in the big leagues. He wanted big league poems, lots and lots of them. And he didn’t have one.
The pebble king began his journey to poetry on a beach at twilight. He owned the beach and every pebble on it at the green water’s edge.
His great friend Steven wanted to buy Gordon’s beach. They were strolling at twilight on Gordon’s beach and negotiating.
Steven: I’ll give you one million dollars.
Steven: I’ll give you two million.
Gordon: I don’t think so.
Steven: What do you want?
Gordon: (picks up a handful of sand.) I want a dollar for each grain of sand in my hand.
Steven: Come on, Gordon, don’t be ridiculous. Negotiate in a businesslike way.
Gordon: There aren’t as many grains here as you might think. I suppose there’s about 50,000 grains in my hand.
The two friends continued strolling
Steven: (A few minutes later) How about half a handful of sand?
Gordon: But Steven, that wouldn’t be businesslike.
Suddenly, everything turned white and Gordon the pebble king heard himself talking to himself. When color came back, he told Steven that he was sorry he had suckered him, had toyed with him. He told Steven that he didn’t want to sell the beach, wanted to just let it be.
This is what the pebble king heard himself saying to himself when everything turned white.
They are not long, the weeping and the laughter,
Love and desire and hate:
I think they have no portion in us after
We pass the gate.
They are not long, the days of wine and roses:
Out of a misty dream
Our path emerges for a while, then closes
Within a dream.