It’s small talk, yes, but meaningful and always there.
The slightest gesture, private confidence, but momentary flare,
But solids, frog to frog, the profusion of birds and things
That should come as no surprise in such a setting. These hidden
In the undergrowth we speak to one another
Here, and as it happens always one beside the other
In that singular common way, both so self-satisfied, bidden
By particular amenities, at home both here and on the street.
Yet I once found anger in conversation atop the Empire State,
And in that brief exchange my soul took note that at that rate,
The place made not the slightest difference in the heat
And meaning of the thing. I thought as much when I got home,
And from that day determined, actors not the stage apprise the tone.
Be fit for more than the thing you are now doing. Let everyone know that you have a reserve in yourself; that you have more power than you are now using. If you are not too large for the place you occupy, you are too small for it.
President James A. Garfield
[November 19, 1831 – September 19, 1881]