Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Father’s Day, a poem by James Tate.

Post 600 - Six hundred entries, another minor milestone achieved. Someone emailed me today and asked me if I liked my work. The answer was yes, very much, especially since I stopped working for a living. James Tate would understand this. In a 1998 interview, he pointed to one unifying element in his work: “My characters usually are — or, I’d say most often, I don’t want to generalize too much — but most often they’re ... trying to find some kind of life.” Today, I feel I have more freedom to explore and find the more satisfying aspects of life. I like writing and exploring poetry better than anything I've found so far.

Father’s Day by James Tate.

My daughter has lived overseas for a number
of years now. She married into royalty, and they
won't let her communicate with any of her family or
friends. She lives on birdseed and a few sips
of water. She dreams of me constantly. Her husband,
the Prince, whips her when he catches her dreaming.
Fierce guard dogs won't let her out of their sight.
I hired a detective, but he was killed trying to
rescue her. I have written hundreds of letters
to the State Department. They have written back
saying that they are aware of the situation. I
never saw her dance. I was always at some
convention. I never saw her sing. I was always
working late. I called her My Princess, to make
up for my shortcomings, and she never forgave me.
Birdseed was her middle name.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Meditations on Saint Patrick, a poem by John Cotter.

Post 599 - When my kids first went away to college, I used to send them a poem a week, reflecting on life at home and sharing some thoughts about appropriate behavior when living away from home for the first time. Here is a composition that I sent off in 1991. Since we're rapidly coming up on Saint Patrick's day, there's no time like the present to send it out again.

Meditations on Saint Patrick by John Cotter.

Saint Patrick was a normal guy
A bit like me and you,
And he ended up in Ireland
In the year four thirty two.

He was hung-up on religion
From the stories I hear tell,
‘Cause he didn’t want the Irish,
When they died, to go to hell.

So, he traveled through the countryside
Converting all the kings.
To hear the places that he went,
I’m sure the man had wings.

He loved the birds and animals
But snakes he couldn’t stand,
So he prayed to God to take them,
And they exited the land.

Please remember this, your heritage,
When March hits seventeen.
Celebrate the fact you’re Irish,
And dress up in something green.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

First Child ... Second Child, a poem by Ogden Nash.

Post 598 - Ogden Nash was born in 1902 in Rye, New York, and educated at St. George's School in Rhode Island and, briefly, at Harvard University. His first job was writing advertising copy for Doubleday, Page Publishing in 1925 and he published his first collection of poems in 1931. He joined the staff at the New Yorker in 1932 and quickly established himself as a very popular writer of light and funny verse. He was elected to the National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1950. His principal home was in Baltimore, Maryland, where he died in 1971. His one-line observations are still often quoted - two examples are;
“People who work sitting down get paid more than people who work standing up,” and “Progress might have been all right once, but it has gone on too long.”

First Child ... Second Child by Ogden Nash


Be it a girl, or one of the boys,
It is scarlet all over its avoirdupois,
It is red, it is boiled; could the obstetrician
Have possibly been a lobstertrician?
His degrees and credentials were hunky-dory,
But how's for an infantile inventory?
Here's the prodigy, here's the miracle!
Whether its head is oval or spherical,
You rejoice to find it has only one,
Having dreaded a two-headed daughter or son;
Here's the phenomenon all complete,
It's got two hands, it's got two feet,
Only natural, but pleasing, because
For months you have dreamed of flippers or claws.
Furthermore, it is fully equipped:
Fingers and toes with nails are tipped;
It's even got eyes, and a mouth clear cut;
When the mouth comes open the eyes go shut,
When the eyes go shut, the breath is loosed
And the presence of lungs can be deduced.
Let the rockets flash and the cannon thunder,
This child is a marvel, a matchless wonder.
A staggering child, a child astounding,
Dazzling, diaperless, dumbfounding,
Stupendous, miraculous, unsurpassed,
A child to stagger and flabbergast,
Bright as a button, sharp as a thorn,
And the only perfect one ever born.


Arrived this evening at half-past nine.
Everybody is doing fine.
Is it a boy, or quite the reverse?
You can call in the morning and ask the nurse.