Lunch with Alice

Years back I wrote a poem prompted by something the Dean of our Public Policy school said to me in passing.
Poems have a habit of showing up that way, popping up out of a conversation in the hallway.
But this one was unusual--it had a specific name in the title--"Lunch with Alice."  And I thought of it as a love story, and also a story of wisdom about how we choose to spend our moments.
Alice in the poem's title is Alice Coleman whose husband, Tom Schelling, died earlier this week.  He had retired (from the University of Maryland School of Public Policy where we both taught) thirteen years ago--and in doing so, he carved out 13 years of time in which he could enjoy lunch with Alice.
While the world may remember Tom's accomplishments as an economist, particularly his having received the Nobel Prize, I remember his childlike curiosity and sense of wonder--and his love for Alice.

Lunch with Alice

He's leaving
The academy
He told the Dean.

It seems
He wants
To linger longer
Over lunch
With Alice,
His beloved.

For his intellect,
The Nobel prize in hand,
He's listening
To his heart.

Judy Brown
May 25, 2003

The Art and Spirit of Leadership, P 44