Nancy Scott McBride studied poetry at NYU and worked as an editor on the New York Quarterly. She has been writing, publishing and giving readings of her work for many years.
my friend and fellow poet were
discussing Matthew Arnold’s famous poem,
how moving it is and how modern, though it was written in
the nineteenth century.
Do you know what the last line means? she asked.
Of course, I lied.
She was better educated and I sometimes resented it.
Swallow your pride, I urged myself whenever we talked,
ask her about the “ignorant armies” that “clash by night.”
But I never did, and now she has Parkinson’s and
can’t speak to me at all.
I could Google it of course,
or ask someone else, but I don’t.
That wouldn’t be fair to Peggy.