Monday, October 27, 2014

Aesthetic differences

In one of her routines, Paula Poundstone reports her mother's dejected comment when a jelly jar being used for a drinking glass was dropped and broken: "I can't have nice things."  The laugh is about thinking that a jelly jar drinking glass is a nice thing.  This morning, on Garrison Keillor's "The Writer's Almanac", I learned of the poems of Jennifer Maier, professor of English at Seattle Pacific University.  The poem "Rummage Sale" starts by asking for Aunt Phyllis's forgiveness for putting the odd set of cut glass bowls in the rummage sale, the ones she collected with the 13 boxes of Lux.

I was reminded of a friend's complaint that neither of her kids wanted the two towering and massive china cupboards she and her husband had used for decades.  It can be an unpleasant shock when none of your relatives wants the Wedgewood china or the shotgun or the necklace and bracelet that Grandma treasured.  How could my heart's treasure be out of style?  How could my childhood sanctuary of a neighborhood library be closed and boarded up?  Here, all my life, I have revered something and now it is destined to be trash?  That hurts.

Here is a simulation of a poem about old, previously treasured things.  I wrote it myself!

Cleaned His Attic

I finally got the attic straight,

Took Dad's old stuff away.

The strangest gear they'd ever seen

Was hauled through town today.

Both cameras with their splash attachments,

His painting done in boils,

His bowling saw and fishing sod,

And wine arranged in coils.

The weeping bags,

The matched golf tubs,

His torn seat music,

And Dad's old gold strumpet.

I never understood the rules,

I didn't used to try.

But Daddy must have been a sport,

His memory makes me cry.

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