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To Alice-Sit-By-The-Hour -- Franklin P Adams

       
(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!
-- Franklin P Adams
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

22 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

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