The Poet Community

Philosophy 101: Who Knew? | A Poem by Donal Mahoney

The gap between potency and act,
the scholar says, is demonstrated
by this anecdote:

A boy of 12, visiting a farm,
is given a glass of buttermilk
by the farmer’s wife who tells him,

“Down the hatch, young man!”
The boy drinks the buttermilk
and almost vomits.

Decades later at a County Fair
a farmer’s wife selling buttermilk
tells the boy who’s now a man,

“You’ll love my buttermilk!”
and offers him a glass.
He drinks the buttermilk

and vomits on her counter.
This demonstrates, the scholar says,
the gap between potency and act.

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