Thursday, May 23, 2013

Showing you that poem about Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout yesterday made me think of...

...an old poem of mine that never saw the light of day. It has been in a drawer for a very long time, by which I mean since the 1990s. I’m not even sure it is finished. For better or worse, here it is:


The Rather Odd Story Of Iris McGee
by Robert Henry Brague


In a house at the edge of a deep, dark wood,
Near the place where Irene’s castle once stood,
There lived a young woman named Iris McGee.
She washed clothes on Mondays from seven to three;
On Tuesdays she ironed, then opened her mail;
On Wednesdays she waxed all the floors without fail;
On Thursdays she dusted and made up her bed;
On Fridays she painted the living room red;

On Saturdays, wearing a white wedding gown,
She drove a green tractor six miles into town,
Ate lunch at the deli and bought some new shoes,
Attended a concert, and paid union dues,
And waved at the townfolk, who thought her quite odd.
On Sundays that rained, she would think about God.
On Sundays with sun, she would sleep until eight,
Then go to her garden and swing on the gate;

She’d talk to the squirrels and prune a few trees,
For these were traditions among the McGees.
Now Iris, not one to break with tradition,
Was the twelfth in her family to hold the position
Of “Ringer of Bells and Singer of Blues”
At the church two blocks east of the place she bought shoes.
She loved ringing bells, but the blues made her cry,
So she thought and she thought till she thought she knew why:

The bells gave her joy but the blues made her sad;
The blues made her cry but the bells made her glad!
So one Sunday, early, she told them the news:
She’d gladly play bells, but she’d sing no more blues.
It caused a great stir when the church heard about it,
But she said, “Sing the blues? I most seriously doubt it!
I can’t sing sad songs when my joy is so full!
I’m off to the belfry the bell ropes to pull!”

She climbed up the staircase and started to play,
And the townfolk said, “Iris is happy today!”
They started to hum and they started to smile,
And at the bus station they stood single file
With never a murmur at having to wait
For a bus that was always a half-hour late
(It took them to jobs in the next county over
Where they packed jars of honey from local-grown clover),

And even the corner policeman was singing,
For Iris McGee was again at her ringing.
For Iris had told them, “This day you must choose.”
And never again did the townfolk hear blues.
She rang all the bells till no more could be found;
She rang them each day until joy did abound,
And the townfolk, with laughter and joy their hearts brimming,
Left off riding buses and took up team swimming.


The moral of this poem might be “It is possible to have too much of a good thing.”

Or it might be “My mama done tol’ me, when I was in knee-pants, My mama done tol’ me, Son, a woman’ll sweet talk and give ya the big eye, but when the sweet talkin’s done, a woman’s a two-face, a worrisome thing who’ll leave ya to sing the blues in the night.” (Don’t send your complaints to me, send them to Johnny Mercer.)

Or the moral of this poem might be “Never try to make sense when you can leave your readers thoroughly confused.”

For a complete change of pace, read this.

Or perhaps you’d prefer to stare at a swatch of Yves Klein blue for a while.

12 comments:

Hilltophomesteader said...

I ADORE your poem!!! I most definitely feel a kindred spirit there ;-) Brightened my day (no blues here) and I think my coffee even tastes better! More???

rhymeswithplague said...

Thank you, Hilltophomesteader! My, but you're up early reading blogs today (being three hours earlier than moi in the Pacific Time Zone, of course).

Shooting Parrots said...

I'm not renowned for my love of poetry, but I found myself loving yours. It's the sort of thing I enjoyed reading to my daughter when she was small. Thanks you.

LightExpectations said...

Oh my word, do I love that! I didn't even click on the "change of pace" link because I don't want a change of pace! I just want your poem ringing in my mind for awhile.

rhymeswithplague said...

Ian (Shooting Parrots), what a very nice thing to say! Thank you.

LightExpectataions, I must say I am amazed at everyone's reaction to my poem! Would you be equally amazed if I told you (it will be just between us, sort of our little secret) that I kept thinking about Joshua 24:15 when I was writing it?

Pat - Arkansas said...

Thank you, RWP. I love Miss Iris McGee. Every town should have such a person. I think it's wonderful that you wrote a poem about her.

As for me and MY house, we will serve the Lord, too.

Hilltophomesteader said...

I always get up early and starting my day with such a fun and fitting poem inspired me for the day! By the way, because you encouraged me, I started a blog. You can check it out and laugh at my ignorance in trying to figure out the stupid thing (me, I mean...) I believe it is at hilltophomesteader.blogspot.com but I wouldn't stake my life on it. Have you more delightful poetry to offer???

rhymeswithplague said...

Hilltopetc., your new blog is, in a word, fabulous! Mine was much more primitive and tentative in the beginning (here's my very first post. It didn't even include an illustration), but I managed to get a little better after a while (for example, here's my post of May 12, 2009) but you jumped in with both feet! I salute you! Huzzah! Hurrah! Ruffles and flourishes! Callooh, Callay! I'm chortling in my joy! (translation: I like it.)

rhymeswithplague said...

Pat (an Arkansas stamper), your comment might be the best one I have ever received!

Besides Joshua 24:15, I was also thinking about Nanny McPhee. I should leave my brain to science.

rhymeswithplague said...

P.S. to Hilltophomesteader, I do have other poetry -- I don't know how delightful it is -- that you can find in my other blog, Billy Ray Barnwell Here. You may find Billy Ray a little strange. He's an acquired taste.

Ecliptic Maus said...

I really love your poem, it's so upbeat and quite amusing. Thank you for sharing it.

rhymeswithplague said...

Ecliptic Maus, what an unusual name you have! I'm glad that you wrote, and I appreciate your comment.