Friday Favorites — Alden Nowland


, , , , ,

Alden NowlanAlden Nowlan

Alden Nowlan, poet, dramatist, novelist (born 25 January 1933 in Stanley, NS; died 27 June 1983 in Fredericton, NB). Winner of the Governor General’s Award for English Poetry in 1967 and recipient of the Queen’s Jubilee Medal in 1978, Alden Nowlan is regarded as one of the most original voices of his generation. (The Canadian Encyclopedia)

This is one of my favorite poems of all time.

* * * * *


He Attempts to Love His Neighbours

My neighbours do not wish to be loved.
They have made it clear that they prefer to go peacefully
about their business and want me to do the same.
This ought not to surprise me as it does;
I ought to know by now that most people have a hundred things
they would rather do than have me love them.

There is television, for instance; the truth is that almost everybody,
given the choice between being loved and watching TV,
would choose the latter. Love interrupts dinner,
interferes with mowing the lawn, washing the car,
or walking the dog. Love is a telephone ringing or a doorbell
waking you moments after you’ve finally succeeded in getting to sleep.

So we must be careful, those of us who were born with
the wrong number of fingers or the gift
of loving; we must do our best to behave
like normal members of society and not make nuisances
of ourselves; otherwise it could go hard with us.
It is better to bite back your tears, swallow your laughter,
and learn to fake the mildly self-deprecating titter
favoured by the bourgeoisie
than to be left entirely alone, as you will be,
if your disconformity embarrasses
your neighbours; I wish I didn’t keep forgetting that.

13 thoughts on “Friday Favorites — Alden Nowland”

  1. I’d heard of him, but never come across his poetry. I’m going to have to look into his work…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t have a book by him, but I’ve read a lot of his stuff on The Writer’s Almanac. He can be a little quirky. I like him ea lot.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve been so involved with my poetry that I haven’t checked him out yet. I feel guilty. I’m pretty much ignoring everybody because I’m so gripped by the urge to write.
        Yesterday I became convinced not only that Laura was dead (she’s not) but that I too was about to die. I’m trying to write the fear away.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I can kind of identify with what you’re saying. It don’t think it’s madness at all. It’s more a free floating anxiety that attaches itself to actual concrete experiences in your life. That’s it’s power. Just do what you’re doing, sweetie. Write through it and 😛 to the fear. I think that’s the way to drain its power. Plato has suggested that to me in the past, and I think it works. {{{Jane}}}

        Liked by 1 person

      • You’re an angel who makes me laugh and cry at exactly the right moments. Finally I’m crying. Please feel good about this. I need it. I spend a lot of my time evading tears, but sometimes I need them.
        Even now I’m fighting them off.


      • Fighting them off is a mistake. Tears are a gift and a blessing. Don’t EVER doubt that. They’re a gift I’ve not had for a very long time, though someone we both know has a way of bringing it out in me. Cry, dear heart. You’ll feel a lot better. And keep sticking out your tongue! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • Tears followed by laughter! Thank you for that.
        I’m sure my silliness will return tomorrow, egged on by you! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • You’re being very prolific today! I’ve got to hurry and catch up!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • There! I took a few hours off to give you a chance to catch up. I wouldn’t have stopped writing, except that my friend was having a women’s evening. We do it on a fairly regular basis and I don’t like to miss our times together.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Good! You could use a lot more of them!!! Foot massages are great, too, btw! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • How odd that I was massaging my left foot when I read your message!

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s nice, but it’s VERY different to have someone do it for you. Always makes me hm… (sorry, can’t say that on a blog!). I like it a lot!


Pull up a rock, sit a spell, and tell me what's on your mind.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s