Sunday, May 21, 2017

Poetry Sunday


This poem combines the dual melancholy of growing old and of longing for a home that isn't there any more. Sad, but still entertaining ...

To the Woman at the Retirement Center 
by Phebe Hanson 

You tell me when you were eight, newly arrived
from Czechoslovakia, your teacher made you memorize
a poem that began “I remember, I remember
the house where I was born.” Stranger
to our language you proudly learned all the verses,
practiced them over and over in front of your mirror,
but at the program when you stood to recite
in front of all the parents and other students,
you got as far as “I remember, I remember,”
and forgot all the rest and had to sit down shamefaced.
Now you live in this ten-story retirement center
where you cried most of the first month, so lonesome
for your son, transferred to another city, who couldn’t
take you with him because his new house wasn’t
big enough. Sometimes, you tell me, you slip away
from the recreation director who wants to teach you
how to turn plastic bleach bottles into bird feeders,
sneak up to your room, turn on the Bohemian radio station,
dance barefoot all by yourself, as you used to
years ago in the house where you were born.


Have a good day, and enjoy what's left of your weekend. More thoughts tomorrow as we start a new week.

Bilbo

4 comments:

Grand Crapaud said...

So sad.

Chuck Bear said...

Richly layered poem.

eViL pOp TaRt said...

Continuing to dance is a way of dealing with change.

Mike said...

She should look up the poem. Wait I'll do it for her. If you see her again...

I remember, I remember,
The house where I was born,
The little window where the sun
Came peeping in at morn;
He never came a wink too soon,
Nor brought too long a day,
But now, I often wish the night
Had borne my breath away!

I remember, I remember,
The roses, red and white,
The vi'lets, and the lily-cups,
Those flowers made of light!
The lilacs where the robin built,
And where my brother set
The laburnum on his birthday,—
The tree is living yet!

I remember, I remember,
Where I was used to swing,
And thought the air must rush as fresh
To swallows on the wing;
My spirit flew in feathers then,
That is so heavy now,
And summer pools could hardly cool
The fever on my brow!

I remember, I remember,
The fir trees dark and high;
I used to think their slender tops
Were close against the sky:
It was a childish ignorance,
But now 'tis little joy
To know I'm farther off from heav'n
Than when I was a boy.