[lit-ideas] Re: Sunday Poem

  • From: David Ritchie <ritchierd@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 10 Jun 2006 23:41:11 -0700

my understanding is that in the old days
whatever any star wished
courtesy of Klieg lights, accounting, guys with big cigars, top dressing, tropical grasses
with ships and storms in ponds available on demand
often supplied
to spite rivals

contract artistes were king and queen
within limits
and what everyone wanted was paramount and universal and united
lions roaring
and muscled guys banging gongs

stars, made up on a whim,
lived a wizard's wishes

larger than cowboys' horses
those on silver screens bled like Christ
and all his Indians
on umpteen dollars a day

in the audience, when the first show was done
ice creams and popcorn appeared
and folk bought
the whole world over
before the second feature came

my grandmother was a great fan
but in that era I know of only one movie my mother saw alone
Ben Hur
she walked out during the chariot race
missing the second feature entirely
coming home shuddering, upset
railing at how violent movies had become

it may have been the Blitz and hospital work, who knows
but now that I've finally seen the chariot scene
and those poor slaves drowning
I understand only
no amount of watching
will tell me exactly what it was she saw
one glum day
in that movie

David Ritchie,
Portland, Oregon

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