Thursday, February 27, 2020

Mr. James's Marvelous Thing

I went out with this girl the other night, she wore this real slinky number...She looked great going down the stairs.
~Milton Jones

Slinky, Amsterdam
photo by Ceescamel

by Prartho Sereno

In this week’s obituaries—Betty James,
whose 90 years are boiled down
to three paragraphs, one and a half given
to her husband Richard, the marine engineer
who fell in love with a torsion spring
when it toppled from his desk and
cartwheeled out the door.

In the picture, Betty’s holding the beloved
Slinky in her stair-step hands. Most likely
she’s been shuffling the toy—one of its many
irresistible charms. But for the picture’s sake...

read the rest here


This amazing video doesn't have any talking (btw, it ends at 1 minute, 14 seconds):


Addendum: This poem is from Rattle. I looked at several issues (Civil Servants, Adjunct Professors, Japanese forms, etc.) and I thought I remembered that today's poem was from the Poets of Faith issue. It's actually from the Mental Health Workers edition. Isn't it interesting how that categorization could change your interpretation? Probably thinking it was from the Adjunct Professors issue would change it again!

Karen Edmisten has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Karen!


Janice Scully said...

I never read a poem about a slinky! They used to fascinate me and how interesting to see it used like this in a poem. Thank you.

jama said...

Very clever poem. Had forgotten all about slinkys. Enjoyed the video too!

Linda B said...

Love your thinking about the Rattle topic, and yes, perhaps my thinking about Mr. James is changed after that. There is a picture book about the invention of this toy- The Marvelous Thing That Came From a Spring, which gives some good credit to Mrs. James. The poem, tongue-in-cheek or sarcastic to the max, but love it, Tabatha. Lines like "couldn’t rise/to a single occasion but was splendid at descent," just please when they show the clever thinking. Thanks!

Kay said...

What fun! I loved playing with my slinky as a kid, but never gave a thought then as to who was the person behind it. I love that poem and its sly way introducing Mr. James. Now I want to know more about Betty.

Karen Eastlund said...

Slinky poems and videos... just right for the day. Thanks!!!

Linda Mitchell said...

What a neat poem! How much is true v. not? I love the funny tone...the tongue in cheek as someone above said. It made me remember the very first time I played with a slinky....which is great fodder for a new poem!

KatApel - said...

I have a hose that's coiled like a spring, so I am perpetually reminded of the slinky, especially when it tangles - as it does often! (That is a skill to have!) So much bite in this clever poem. It seems remarkably unjust that she isn't remembered for herself!

michelle kogan said...

I liked the comparison in the poem of Mr. James slinking away from family and obligations with the slinky–yes clever–and what a balancing act for Betty… fun video also, thanks Tabatha.

Ruth said...

You find the coolest stuff!

Karen Edmisten said...

Oh, wow, yes to the idea that categorization changes perception! So good.

Tara said...

That poem made me laugh, Tabatha - so much shade! Loved the video too, kind of mesmerizing to watch the slinky in perpetual motion.

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

So do the plastic rainbow slinkies avoid the tangling problems that I remember so vividly from my childhood? If so, it might be worth the investment just to watch one walk down the stairs again. Those were the good old days. Enjoyed the poem and the video, T—thank you for sharing both.

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

Oh, and the quote! Love that quote. :D