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with his dignity
intact, just ordered
another brandy. The older
of the two waiters defends
the old man, quietly
and well. The other, not
disputing him, serving
the old man his one more
brandy, sticks to
his own opinion.
He folds up the newspaper.
Nothing to be done
but make `Spinoza's
laconic agreement to
conspire with necessity,'
phrasing he had copied
(from whom? he's forgotten)
years ago into a notebook.
As for the knowledge and
wisdom of old age, such as
they may be, their basis
and most of their substance
he had built up, well
before he was old, back
when thoughts and perceptions
came at propitious times
unsought-for, quick and clear....