78. Martin Eden, 1909, by Jack London (1876–1916)
I read this book in study hall
In high school, long ago.
It was not homework (punishment!)
But pleasure, you should know.
My mom had given me the book—
But I would have to guess
She didn’t think I’d read the thing—
I was a teenaged mess.
But read I did—more fun, you know,
Than doing math and junk.
So on Jack London’s book I dined—
Each day I chewed a chunk.
And I was stunned, I have to say,
At how it all turned out.
I won’t reveal the ending, but
Be sturdy, strong, and stout!
I’d read some London comic books—
White Fang and Sea-Wolf, too.
And certainly that Wild one,* which
Would give me much to do.
But Martin Eden was a thrill
In every sort of way.
Another book that changed me—and
The change remains today.
*in Classics Illustrated editions