(Poem #212) To Alice-Sit-By-The-Hour
Lady in the blue kimono, you that live across the way, One may see you gazing, gazing gazing all the livelong day, Idly looking out your window from your vantage point above. Are you convalescent, lady? Are you worse? Are you in love? Ever gazing, as you hang there on the little window seat, Into flats across the way or down upon the prosy street, Can't you rent a pianola? Can't your iron, sew, or cook? Write a letter, bake a pudding, make a bed or read a book? Tell me of the fascination you indubitably find In the "High Cash Cloe's!" man's holler in the hurdy-gurdy grind. Are your Spanish castles blue prints? Are you waiting for a knight To descend upon your fastness and to save you from your plight? Lady in the blue kimono, idle mollycoddle dame, Does your doing nothing never make you feel the blush of shame? As you sit and stare and ditto, not a single thing to do, Lady in the blue kimono, lady, how I envy you!
A common feature of light verse is the regularity of its surface, and today's is no exception. The point is to be unobtrusive; to let the verse carry the reader smoothly along, without any sticking points, until the final line (usually a punchline). Here, of course, it serves an additional purpose; conveying the perceived monotony of the woman's 'gazing, gazing, gazing all the livelong day' existence. And, of course, the form was one that perfectly catered to Adams' dislike of free verse - half the pleasure of the poem comes from the effortless perfection of the verse. m. Biography: Adams, Franklin Pierce b. Nov. 15, 1881, Chicago d. March 23, 1960, New York City byname F.P.A., U.S. newspaper columnist, translator, poet, and radio personality whose humorous syndicated column "The Conning Tower" earned him the reputation of godfather of the contemporary newspaper column. He wrote primarily under his initials, F.P.A. Adams' newspaper career began in 1903, with the Chicago Journal. The next year he went to New York, where he wrote for several newspapers. From 1913 to 1937 his column, "The Conning Tower," appeared in the Herald Tribune and several other New York newspapers, interrupted only during the years of World War I, when Adams wrote a column for Stars and Stripes, and from 1923 to 1931, when he worked for the New York World until it ceased publication. Witty and well-written, his columns consisted of informal yet careful critiques of the contemporary U.S. scene. His column also included writing by such authors as Dorothy Parker and Sinclair Lewis. His Saturday columns imitated the language and style of Samuel Pepys' diary, and Adams is credited with a renewal of interest in Pepys. Reprints were collected in The Diary of Our Own Samuel Pepys (1935). Adams' poetry is light and conventionally rhymed. He hated free verse and was never slow in expressing this opinion. His verse is collected in 10 volumes, beginning with Tobogganning on Parnassus (1911); the final volume, The Melancholy Lute (1936), is Adams' selection from 30 years of his writing. In 1938, Adams became one of the panel of experts on the radio show "Information, Please." He achieved almost instant popularity for his humour and erudition, and his name became something of a household word in the 1930s, '40s, and '50s. -- EB