“While Reading” by Terry Kay

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While reading, I have been –
A cowboy (and an Indian) with Zane Grey and Louis L’Amour.
The confederate soldier with Joseph Pennell and Phillip Louis Williams
A pirate with Robert Louis Stevenson
An orphan with Charles Dickens
An eccentric with Flannery O’Connor
A dust bowl traveler with John Steinbeck.

While reading, I have been –
A whaler with Herman Melville
A golden-dreamer with Erskine Coldwell
A small-town barber with Wendell Berry
A runaway with mark Twain
An old-time gospel god James Weldon Johnson.

While reading, I have been –
A b-flat coronet player with William price fox
A battler of windmills with Miguel de Cervantes
An attendant in the House of Gentle Men with Kathy Hepinstall
A basketball player with Pat Conroy, a firefighter with Larry Brown, a defense attorney with John Grisham.

While reading, I have touched the oceans darkest depths and walked on planets in solar systems beyond our seeing.

While reading, I have climbed mountains lost in the clouds, and walked a different road with Robert frost and gazed at the little cat feet of fog with Carl Sandburg and danced to the language-music of Byron Herbert Reece and Edgar Allan Poe and David Bottoms.

While reading, I have flown the Atlantic with Charles Lindbergh and pierced the caul of space with john Glenn.

While reading, I have stood at Gettysburg with Lincoln and in Montgomery with Martin Luther King, Jr.

While reading, I have rejoiced with the still-living of Dachau on the day of liberation, and I have seen the unspeakable horror of Hiroshima on the day of killing.

While reading, I sat at the feet of Abraham and Moses and Jesus and Muhammad and Buddha, and all the other men of God, and all those who would kill God—the insane, the madman, bigoted, the fanatics.

While reading, I have been a boy and a man, girl and woman. I’ve been young and old. I have died and have been re-born.

While reading, I’ve become people I cannot be, doing things I cannot do. And I do not know of any other experience that could have given me such a life.

Terry Kay, Copyright, 2006
Revised for a reading at the Lagrange Public Library on April 14, 2016