THE ELEGANT USELESS

Standard

April is much too
late in March for snow
but I feel much more like I do
now than I did a while ago
for I’ve just seen a great movie–
don’t miss it if you possibly can–
it was like a flash in the dark
or a shot in the pan
and in three dimensions:
black and white and color,
you know, a casual affair
between a donut and a cruller?
The theme, I think, was LIFE
(but you really had to be there)
starring Beatrice Somebody
& Art Guesswho.  (I wonder
who does her hair…and why).
Anyway, these two were like
twins, though one looked
more alike, and listen to this:
“they read no more that day.”
And if that doesn’t take your
day and make your cake,
right there I gave myself
to Art, just for art’s sake.

(I wrote this 35 years ago and take it out for an airing
now in honor of April Fool’s Day.  The snowbanks
along the sides of my street are still five dirty feet high.)

38 responses »

  1. Oh gosh I love this Cynthia!! When I read the irst line I thought “What?!” Then I kind of realised something was going on! It reminds me a litle of a silly rhyme we used to say, nothing to do with April Fools Day but in the same style. It went something like

    I went to the cinema tomorrow and
    took a front seat at the back…

    I thiught I could remember more but its gone! Maybe that’s a good thing!!! 😄

    • We children also had one of those silly pieces,,,”ladies and jelly beans, I come before you to stand behind you, to tell you something I do not know…next Thursday, which will be good Friday, there will be a mother’s meeting for fathers only…admission free, pay at the door, plenty of seats, sit on the floor, or at the corner of the round table…etc…” I’m surprised I recall that much of it…Ah, me…this is turning out to be a crazy day…Thank you, as always, Christine!

  2. Hi Cynthia ,what a great April Fools poem. Dan, my husband, and I have a friend who wrote a similar prose piece which he named “Leaves of Escher Grass” At first we worried that he’d made a mistake and then, when we got into the spirit, we could enjoy every line, We ended with smiles and chuckles, just as I do now and just as I know that you are good at.
    Cheerio,
    Jane

    • “Leaves of Escher Grass” sounds very interesting! My own poem, dug out because I promised myself to post weekly and yet am unwell and very weary this week, gave me a good laugh when I re-read it. I recall that it was written in a coffee shop I used to call my “office” back in the lean and mean days, when leaving my city apartment gave me the discipline of working at writing as if it were a job…the coffee shop was owned by a little Chinese man who let me sit there for hours if I wanted to, and not buy more than a coffee or two..he always asked how the writing was coming along, and did I know that Pearl Buck liked her liquor, and that writers needed to be careful of demon rum? He died a few years ago, but I still cherish the memory of him, and have kept most of the poems I wrote at the corner table by the window of his shop. This was one of them. Thank you,my friend, for your visit and your comment.

  3. I just loved the whimsicalness of this delightful poem. What a refreshing, fun way to start April. With all the snow and cold, I feel like having an elegantly useless day! Bravo! Eileen

    • Do you remember Freshman Literature at Emmanuel…Dante’s “Inferno”, the lustful lovers, Paolo and Francesca who “read no more that day?” This poem always takes me back there…and yes, do have yourself an elegantly useless day soon, Eileen!

    • Thank you, Betty. I must tell you that I also enjoy those of your poems which were written “back then”, as this one was. We were up to some of the same things, I think….

  4. Life, art, movie, and a joke. I can’t help but think about very philosophical things as I read this poem, about the meaning of life, how to live life, how to see this life, perception and such deep things for such a whimsical poem! It is interesting…because of certain life experiences I’ve had, I find this poem unsettling, but that isn’t to say anything about the poem itself, just my own personal response ; ) I enjoyed it and read it more than once.

    • I find your response to this very interesting, Anna, not the least because, as I explained above, it is a very old poem of mine, and I am no longer the person who wrote it. I do remember that I was playing with words and phrases as I had actually heard people misuse them at the time. I have always enjoyed collecting malapropisms and the like as I eavesdrop on the talk about me. I think the intent here always lived more in the land of language than of philosophy. For me, the poem is philosophically empty,so I hope you weren’t too unsettled by it, as that certainly was not the intent. Isn’t it amazing what words do, and do not do? Thanks so much for your comment!

      • Yes, it is amazing what words do and do not do!

        …do you think it’s possible…for a poem to be philosophically empty?

        I wasn’t too unsettled, no, just a little jostle! Thank you.

        • I don’t believe every poem needs to be about “the meaning of life”and other deep things….sometimes it’s just a lark, the joy of language playing on itself. That’s what I meant by “philosophically empty”. For me, poetry is primarily language about language, and,of course, truth-telling.

  5. Even as a 35 years old, when you were not littleoldladywho, but littleyoungladywho (and of course , no question arises as to the doth net at that time), you were not doing bad.

    • Correct my doth to dot. You did have a wonderful sense of humor then, as you do now. “and in three dimensions: black and white and color”
      “starring Beatrice Somebody & Art Guesswho.”

  6. Lewis Carroll took nonsense to a high art. Ogden Nash was not too far behind, and then Cynthia Jobin dips into past and comes up with a dipsidoodle. The online dictionary says that is not a word. Of course, April does not come in March all the time, and although I am sure that “black and white and color’ comes in dimensions that I can nearly make out, and
    Anyway, these two were like
    twins, though one looked
    more alike,
    I can easily fall into a rabbit hole and look up and see the ground! Anyway, what is
    a casual affair
    between a donut and a cruller?
    Did Beatrice Somebody
    & Art Guesswho
    reel on into immortality while someone was doing Beatrice’s hair?
    I’d make something out of all this, but a long time ago in a coffee shop a young girl who is inside an older lady now-who, flipped up a napkin and spilled words while her coffee steamed, and this poem has been steaming in her noodle ever since.

    • I hope you’re feeling better, Cynthia. You have lots more poems to write. After all, William Butler Yeats wrote his best stuff when he was too old to write anything.

    • I recall there was a song called”The Dipsy Doodle” made popular by the Tommy Dorsey band…somewhat before my time…but that song and several other nonsensical ones like “Marezeedoats”, Chickery Chick”, and “Scatterbrain” I learned to sing with my grandparents when I was a small child. I still recall the tunes and many of the words, since I am an inveterate singer-about-the-house. Just today I found myself singing “Swinging on a Star”, which was the top hit song the year I was born. You’ve made my day, Thomas, with your dipsidoodling!

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