The Circle Narrows
by George Jonas
It is quite possible
That our common thoughts come to us from the sea
Our doubtful soul follows the herrings
And we all die after the 11 o’clock news.
Still there is
A certain self which I for my part
Keep wrapped in tinfoil among my private papers.
I am less and less concerned
With a planet I share with Arabs and caterpillars
With a country I share with fellow motorists
With women who share me with film directors
And with a heart that after minor adjustments
Could be used by a customs officer.
The trips I will take from now on
Must only be a few inches in length.
I have a scrapbook from 1970, my senior year in college. In it, I pasted this poem, by George Jonas,which appeared in the Saturday Review. As I read it now, I wonder what I liked about it back then. I think I only really liked the last line, which applies much more to me now that I has over the intervening years. The rest of the poem disturbs me now.