ARM-IN-ARM by Nancy Lind

photo credit: J. Cavanaugh Simpson


(“Poor Robin! Poor Robin Crusoe!” – the parrot in Defoe’s ROBINSON CRUSOE)

When I read, much later,

That the father of ROBINSON CRUSOE

Died in Ropemaker’s Alley, hiding from creditors,

I cried.

I cried like the girl I was, at 8, who first met Robinson,

And my heart leapt into my throat —

No! I argued – the spirit of Defoe demanded

Expanses, vastness, NOT that squalid little room.


I lived with Robinson, swam with him from the wreck

To the unmapped island, alongside the dog and cat.

He contrived the hut from odd bits of planks and palms,

And later, for a change, his own “bower” of repose.

When he first saw the famous footprint in the sand,

I gasped with fear and amazement, as Robin did.

His musket and manly outrage saved Friday from cannibals,

And the two unlikely men adopted each other, like father and son,

Like blood brothers – the first tender friendship

In the first novel in English.


Then I was reading a children’s edition that ended too soon, unforgivably,

With the rescue boat in full sail, Crusoe on deck in his goatskin clothes.

WHERE WAS FRIDAY?  I panicked, asked my father, my teacher,


The library ladies, the janitor, the bus driver —

Until I found a simple drawing, like any family album photo,

Showing the two friends, smiling, arm-in-arm, on the ship.


2 comments on “ARM-IN-ARM by Nancy Lind

  1. I own the complete set of hardcovers of everything Dickins wrote, as I’m sure you do. It takes about five feet of shelf space. Haven’t read much of it yet (my recently deceased.mother did), but I plan to some year or two. I also have a piece in 34th Parallel, as well as this month’s 3QR (“The Service”). Isn’t it odd, though. Your poem is lovely.

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