At age eleven, the late Canadian poet Alden Nowlan expressed a "desire to be a prophet," and arguably achieves this dream today in his published works. "He Sits Down on the Floor of a School for the Retarded" depicts a scene in which a guileless woman elicits from a cynical man not just an embrace but also a reflection on his impulse to be part of an embrace. Nowlan's moving poem questions both our motives for helping others and our responses to the deepest human needs.
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The Civically Engaged Reader, eds. Davis & Lynn, (Great Books Foundation, 2006).
Civically Engaged Reader