Paying to Wave

waving goodbyThe poet Rupert Brooke (1887-1915) set out to travel by boat from England to America.  Everyone on deck had someone there to see him or her off—everyone except him.  Rupert Brooke felt lonely, terribly lonely.  Watching the hugging and the kissing and good-byes, he wished he had someone to miss him.

The poet saw a youngster and asked his name.

“William,” the boy answered.

“William,” he asked, “would you like to earn a few shillings?”

“Sure, I would!  What would I have to do?”

“Just wave to me as I leave,” the lonely man instructed.

It is said that money can’t buy love, but for six shillings young William waved to Rupert Brooke as the boat pulled out.  The poet writes, “Some people smiled and some cried, some waved white handkerchiefs and some waved straw hats.  And I? I had William, who waved at me with his red bandana for six shillings and kept me from feeling completely alone.”