Friday, December 7, 2012

Low-Tech Communication

Two quiet, sweet poems today. I like the endings of both.

Cymbidium Arcadian Sunrise 'Golden Fleece'
photo by Wilferd Duckitt

Father's Story
by Elizabeth Madox Roberts

We put more coal on the big red fire,
And while we are waiting for dinner to cook,
Our father comes and tells us about
A story that he has read in a book.

And Charles and Will and Dick and I
And all of us but Clarence are there.
And some of us sit on Father's legs,
But one has to sit on the little red chair.

And when we are sitting very still,
He sings us a song or tells a piece;
He sings Dan Tucker Went to Town,
Or he tells us about the golden fleece.

He tells about the golden wool,
And some of it is about a boy
Named Jason, and about a ship,
And some is about a town called Troy.

And while he is telling or singing it through,
I stand by his arm, for that is my place.
And I push my fingers into his skin
To make little dents in his big rough face.


The Telephone
by Robert Frost

“WHEN I was just as far as I could walk
From here to-day,
There was an hour
All still
When leaning with my head against a flower
I heard you talk.
Don’t say I didn’t, for I heard you say—
You spoke from that flower on the window sill—
Do you remember what it was you said?”

“First tell me what it was you thought you heard.”

“Having found the flower and driven a bee away,
I leaned my head,
And holding by the stalk,
I listened and I thought I caught the word—
What was it? Did you call me by my name?
Or did you say—
Someone said ‘Come’—I heard it as I bowed.”

“I may have thought as much, but not aloud.”

“Well, so I came.”


Robyn Hood Black has the Poetry Friday round-up today.


jama said...

Nice pairing! The first one is so comforting and reassuring, and I like the tenderness in the second. :)

Marjorie said...

Oh beautiful - I love them both, and especially the dialogue format of the second one.

Matt Forrest Esenwine said...

Both wonderful poems! I like the way Frost uses the flower-telephone metaphor as a way to speak with someone else...makes one wonder who that is, if it's a woman, or God, or...??

Ruth said...

I love the first one best -- it's wonderful the way the town called Troy is familiar and close because she hears about it from her father.

Irene Latham said...

Tabatha, I'm with you about the ending of both -- with perhaps a better liking for the first poem. Here's to quiet moments!

Robyn Hood Black said...

Terrific post, Tabatha. I love how you put these two together. And I love what Ruth said about the way "Troy is familiar and close because she hears about it from her father" - I was thinking that but didn't have the right words for it.
Thanks for sharing!

Author Amok said...

"Father's Story" is beautiful. I love the detail -- the red chair, mentioning the story of Jason and the golden fleece. I can picture it.

Linda B said...

I have a little red chair, handed down from grandparents, so that first poem-oh my, I think I can see the scene exactly. It's so sweet. And isn't that typical child, all those things, including the dents in the skin. And I always love Frost when he has dialogue-seems so personal somehow. Tabatha you find great poems!

Tara @ A Teaching Life said...

I loved them both, but especially the first - that little red chair and the visual of the little fingers touching a beloved, if rough, face.

Steve Peterson said...

Thanks! I loved especially loved the Elizabeth Roberts poem. I have the old rocking chair from the home place in my study. Sometimes its creaks bring me back to those kinds of times.

Violet N. said...

I got shivers from both of these. Especially the Elizabeth Roberts poem... it is a scene within a scene--the kids surrounding their father while he blesses them with his stories, while the little one standing speaks her own love language to him.

Mary Lee said...

The first poem took me to the picture of me as a toddler, tucked in the chair beside my dad, "reading" the paper with him. I don't remember it, but I can look at the photo to make it true. I do remember sitting at mom and dad's feet every Christmas eve as dad read The Night Before Christmas and mom read the Christmas story from the Bible. Powerful memories, powerful poem.

And the second...I was telling my students about the phones we used to have -- the ones with the dials for the numbers -- some of them had never seen one -- and they were amazed that I could remember my childhood phone number. I, too, was wondering if Frost was hearing his wife, or God, or the reader? Love how he has to brush a bee away to "take the call."

(sorry for the rambling this morning!)