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Enthusiasm

  "Don't overdo it," Dad yelled, watching me
Play shortstop, collect stamps and shells,
Roll on the grass laughing until I peed my pants.
"Screw him," I said, and grabbed every cowry I could find, hogged all the books I could From Heights Library, wore out the baseball Diamond dawn to dusk, and—parents in Duluth— Gorged on bountiful Candy dusk to dawn.
Not until a Committee wrote of my poems, "Enthusiasm should be tempered," Did I change my song.
I write now The way I live: calm and sober, steering Toward the Golden Mean.
The Committee Was right to withhold funds.
I'd have bought A hundred box turtles with lemon-speckled shells, Flyfished for rainbows six months straight, Flown to the Great Barrier Reef and dived Non-stop among pink coral and marble cones, Living on chocolate malts, peaches, and barbecue.
I'd have turned into a ski bum, married Ten women in ten states, written nothing Poetry would glance at twice, instead Of rising at 5:00 as I do now, writing 'Til noon about matters serious and deep, Teaching 'til 6:00, eating a low-fat meal High in fiber and cruciferous vegetables, Then bed by 9:00, alarm clock set Five minutes late: my one indulgence of the day.

by Charles Webb
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