Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Word to Hostesses, a poem by Phyllis McGinley.

Post 504 - Phyllis McGinley (1905 - 1978) was an American writer of children's books and a poet who stressed the positive aspects of suburban life. Her poems were published in the New York Herald Tribune and The New Yorker, among others. In 1955, she was elected a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters, and in 1961 she won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

In a 1965 interview in Time magazine, McGinley noted, “At a time when poetry has become the property of the universities and not the common people, I have a vast number of people who have become my readers. I have kept the door open and perhaps led them to greater poetry.”

A Word to Hostesses by Phyllis McGinley.

Celebrities are lonely when
They congregate with lesser men.
Among less ambient men they sit,
Bereft of style, deprived of wit,
A little chilly to the touch,
And do not sparkle very much.

Wrenched from their coteries, they lack
Mirrors to send their image back,
And find it, therefore, hard to muster,
Glint for a purely private luster.
(One sees the hunger in their eyes
For splendor they can recognize.)

But seat them next to a Name, and Lo!
How they will most instantly will glow,
Will light the sky or heat the room
With gossip’s incandescent bloom,
As if, like twigs, they only burst
In flame when rubbed together first.

Hostesses then, when you are able
To lure Celebrity to table,
It is discreet to bear in mind
He needs the comfort of his kind.
Fetch other Names. Fetch three or four.
A dozen’s better, or a score.
And half a hundred might be fitter,

But even one will make him glitter.

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