Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sunday: a love story

I know all I write about it kids and poop and tantrums and I know that you, faithful and devoted readers with exceptionally good taste, never tire of these subjects which are endlessly fascinating. But this Sunday was so lovely and I was thinking about how great Sundays can be and I remembered this poem I read in a poetry class in college, by Gwendolyn Brooks, about the kind of Sunday you used to have, before kids. There are several reasons I love Gwendolyn Brooks and the first reason is that she reads her poems like she means it, and not in the usual staccato, totally lifeless, nasally voice most poets read their work that puts way too much emphasis on their peculiarly-placed line breaks. Brooks performs her poems, which is to say, delivers the lines with flourish and feeling -- almost sings the poems, really -- and she has a very pronounced lisp which is incredibly endearing. You can hear her if you listen to that poetry collection I am always going on about, Poetry Speaks to Children - she's on the CD. But the real reason I love Brooks is she knows how to make a poem that punches you in the gut -- in a good way. She puts things in such a way that you have to wonder, "Why don't we ALWAYS use the expression a 'limping afternoon' or 'my heart playing hopscotch'?" She gets it just right. See for yourself.

when you have forgotten Sunday: the love story

by Gwendolyn Brooks

—And when you have forgotten the bright bedclothes on a Wednesday and a Saturday,
And most especially when you have forgotten Sunday—
When you have forgotten Sunday halves in bed,
Or me sitting on the front-room radiator in the limping afternoon
Looking off down the long street
To nowhere,
Hugged by my plain old wrapper of no-expectation
And nothing-I-have-to-do and I’m-happy-why?
And if-Monday-never-had-to-come—
When you have forgotten that, I say,
And how you swore, if somebody beeped the bell,
And how my heart played hopscotch if the telephone rang;
And how we finally went in to Sunday dinner,
That is to say, went across the front room floor to the ink-spotted table in the southwest corner
To Sunday dinner, which was always chicken and noodles
Or chicken and rice
And salad and rye bread and tea
And chocolate chip cookies—
I say, when you have forgotten that,
When you have forgotten my little presentiment
That the war would be over before they got to you;
And how we finally undressed and whipped out the light and flowed into bed,
And lay loose-limbed for a moment in the week-end
Bright bedclothes,
Then gently folded into each other—
When you have, I say, forgotten all that,
Then you may tell,
Then I may believe
You have forgotten me well.