John Ciardi defines a man

A man is what he does with his attention
and mine is not for sale, though I’ll take cash—
and gladly—for whatever my attention
turns to for its own sake, when I’m finished with it.

Let this be my leave offering to the ghost
of J. T. Marshall, and of twenty others
who bought me cheap, and couldn’t afford me now,
because I can’t afford to be afforded
by anyone but myself, or I’d lose the ghost
of how I live, however I make my living.

And so to my last bonus, which is the first.
Any man can learn to learn from the wise
once he can find them: but learn to learn from a fool
and all the world’s your faculty.

—John Ciardi, from the Postscript to ‘Cal Coolidge and the Co’

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