The following is an excerpt from the book, a free-form poem.
1983. Written shortly after Lincoln retired from teaching.
So deeply we are bound to one another!
We try to flee the burden of belonging;
We turn away from those we do not like,
But there they are again in days that follow.
Often then they have us at a disadvantage.
The wife who leaves her husband, wanting freedom
Must call in panic for the plumber late at night;
The husband says good riddance, but so soon
He burns the eggs he fries in some small lonely room.
The small boy screams in anger at his friend
But next day needs a catcher for his team.
The social climber snubs the druggist's wife,
But getting refills for her pills she sees her there.
That no-good boy-friend of your precious daughter
Tomorrow joins the company-- your boss's nephew.
The school-girl sneered at by the "in" crowd
Would offer help to pass the next exam.
The college lad who thinks his folks are dumb
Falls hopelessly behind in payments on his car.
The sneering braggart who would often taunt police
Until some driver, hit-and-run, then knocks him down.
The vain physician thinks you are an object, nothing more,
Must watch his father die by inches, with no cure.
And he who trusted no one over thirty,
Has now in years just come to thirty-one.
The neighbor who would never stop and talk
Now needs a ride to the emergency room.
He who robbed you last year in that car repair
Is diagnosed as having terminal leukemia.
The rich man, so secured behind high fences,
Was found today. A heart attack. He was alone.
She was supremely beautiful and proud
Until one side of her facelift swelled.
The girl who quit her school (it was a prison)
Now has three children, and a drunken husband.
That business man, so clever, never home,
Returned. His only child is mongoloid.
My friend who always reads the Wall Street Journal
Lost everything he had-- a "sure thing" in the market.
Freedom? Independence ? No such thing.
We are members of each other, bound together
By the love of God, and by our awful need
For someone who will love and care, unworthy as we are.
Beloved, let us love each other.