Unlikely Stories Presents

DANIEL GREEN: world's least flappable nonagenarian

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The most striking aspect of Daniel Green's poems is the tangible familiarity of the characters. You know the people, dreams, and situations that Daniel describes, although one rarely sees them put to paper so effectively. In each poem, you'll feel not only for the protagonists, but for the antagonists as well.

Daniel Green, now 95, wrote his first poem at age 82. Born in New York, he’s a high school dropout, and later learned three degrees night schooling in the Depression. He served three years in WWII, and a year in China-Burma-India. Later, he managed the American Red Cross, Children’s Aid Society, and Graham home in New York City.

He and his wife Leona happily share eight grandchildren. Leona’s drawings add interesting views of their world-wide travels. You can write to Daniel at D9Green@aol.com.

This Daniel Green should not be confused with Unlikely Stories' other Daniel Green. This Daniel Green is from Florida. The other Daniel Green is from Missouri. I live in Atlanta, with all the strip clubs.

Daniel's works here at Unlikely Stories are:

Aging Memory Big Bang

A Tattered Hat Concert in the Park
Stigmata Bucephalus
Cinderella Near Thing in Chitwan

Hell's Kitchen 1916 Pelagic Garden: Eleuthera
Papua New Guinea Sound Effects
Eyebrows Raised Making Love
Sartorials Interval of Mortality
Nightmare The Glance
Gorgon Epizootic
Big Talk Minnie

The following comments about Daniel Green and his work are excerpted from A Committee of One, ISBN 0-932970-88-5, by Chuck Avery.

When I grow up, I want to be Dan Green.

I met Dan at a writers’ workshop at Antioch College in Ohio. No one went with me and I knew no one who was attending. I managed to find the campus, get registered and locate the eight-room dorm where I would spend the week. When I stepped into the lobby/kitchenette area, I was greeted by a straight, slender man who rose from the table and lifted a glass in greeting. “Sir, I take my measure of a man by the way he drinks Canadian whiskey. You must join me in a glass,” he said.

Ordinarily I drink no hard liquor, but my new acquaintance was so enthusiastic in his recital on the benefits of Canadian whiskey that I couldn’t refuse. Having poured a generous shot for me, he invited me to sit and talk about myself, always a good way to start a relationship.

For the next seven days, I heard stories from Dan Green – wonderful stories about his travels, his family, his experiences. I learned something of his views on life, love, and literature.

For seven days, I heard stories from others about Dan Green – about his decision to write and his dedicated study of the art of poetry.

Many people want to be poets. Almost none of them want to learn to write poetry. They want, instead, to put platitudes on paper, line everything up on the left margin, and wait for the acclaim. They are of the romantic belief that some have the gift and some don’t – and they do. Dan knew the process was more complex and he began studying it… when he was 82…

Dan is one of those fortunate people to whom everything comes late. He quit school at 14. At 23 he decided he needed more education. He got into New York University and earned two masters’ degrees [at Columbia University].

When WWII broke out, Dan, 33 years old and a pacifist, was not likely to be drafted. But he felt so strongly about the issues that – like one of the Elizabethan poet-soldiers leaving his mistress for the battlefield – he told his wife, “I love you, but duty calls.”

After enlisting, he was assigned to a desk job stateside, but he wanted to see action. He complained to the brass until they sent him to India. From there he flew 35 missions into China as an air intelligence officer.

After the war, he made a career of social work, eventually becoming the executive director of the Red Cross in New York.

Shortly after his 79th birthday, Dan, by now a widower, was playing a brisk nine holes on a golf course in Florida. he met and struck up a conversation with Leona, a retired dancer. During the conversation, they learned that they were both single, both liked golf and traveling. They finished the nine holes, left for Borneo together, and were married soon after.

Three years later, poetry.

At the end of the week, I asked Dan were he was going from Antioch.

“Well, I’m leaving for Tanzania soon,” he said. “Then my wife and I are going to the Seychelles Islands. If things work out, next spring I’ll be in Antarctica.” Why Antarctica? “It’s one of the few places I’ve never been. I’m looking forward to it.”

After an article I wrote about Dan appeared in New Thought Journal, I received a letter from a man in Texas. He wanted me to know that he had met Dan in Africa and that the last time he had seen him, Dan was floating in a hot air balloon over the Serengeti Plains, a grin on his face.

Dan Green made me feel young. By example, he persuades others that life is filled with glorious potential.

That’s a good feeling at any age.