[lit-ideas] Re: Thursday Poem

  • From: "Steve Chilson" <stevechilson@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 20 Oct 2006 06:18:11 +0100

Just curious, Mr Ritchie if you've been to Glencoe before, site of
another famous massacre...

On Thu, 19 Oct 2006 17:01:50 -0700, "David Ritchie"
<ritchierd@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> said:
> Before reaching the site where proselytizers were killed--
> they were inefficiently spreading gospel and measles,
> it's a tragic tale, with a kid drowning and Mrs. Eel raising the alarm--
> we sped past stands of new wind-generating mills,
> some old boarded stores,
> many thriving wineries,
> and a cheese shop that,
> possibly in view of the auld alliance--
> but I doubt this was intended--
> sold Tobermory cheddar with French blue infection.
> We entered Walla Walla off route 125,
> met the new president--
> a sociologist with all the necessary bow and Washington ties--
> were talked at and to,
> sampled classroom experiences,
> how the cafeteria treats Indian food.
> You'll have guessed we were wondering
> whether to send our daughter to Whitman,
> a college built beside the site of a famous slaughter.
> A first hint of how my judgment would go
> was when Deborah Butterfield's lovely stick horse
> suddenly reminded me of bones.
> We drove home.
> Now I reflect and prefer to recommend
> the other event of that weekend,
> turning fifty with friends.
> Sometimes it is the company that makes a mood.
> People ask how I feel about knowing life is half or maybe two thirds 
> gone.
> I tell them of our crabbing expedition--
> the falling tide must be blamed for our poor haul--
> our Ancient and Venerable Order of Fishy Geezers' foundation outing,
> and the very good steaks we bought on the road home.
> Like veterans, those who came to dinner--
> nurses, physical therapists, artists, doctors--
> in their daily rounds often note
> both signs of hope
> and decay.
> So we all savored, if not each bite going--
> some swallows I confess slipped through--
> the laughter, chatter, patter and wit
> around the table,
> the full ribbed round of
> warm hours burning down.
> With last finger licks and tastes of champagne,
> folk surveyed the final rubble on the table.
> Nor Huns nor Romans, nor even Henry eight, spared
> and wrapped up cake for you,
> clutched it,
> vanished with designated drivers in the wee hours,
> and happiness under arms, way west of Waiilatpu.
> I went up to bed.
> David Ritchie,
> Portland, Oregon
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  Steve Chilson

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