Tuesday, November 8, 2011

What Time is it?, Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Zenith Model 5-S-220 "cube" radio ci...Image via Wikipedia
I bought a book of Ted Kooser’s poems, Delights and Shadows¸ a few weeks ago. For some reason, I bought a used copy from Amazon. It turns outs to have been very obviously used by a young lady for a college class, I imagine in literature or poetry.

     I guess my first thought was, why would anyone turn in such a book, especially one they had had so much involvement with and worked so hard over those poems?. How could it have meant so little to them to have so quickly outlived its usefulness? We live in an age that has become much too utilitarian and I expect there may come a day when she would like to have it back.

     The next point that I found fascinating was the note she wrote at the bottom of the page holding the poem below. It was something to the effect “TV – watching the war from afar.” What? Are kids today so unaware of even the most recent history not to recognize that during World War II there was no such thing as TV? Was she so ill prepared to read this poem, that even the most basic facts escaped her? Without that, she could have had no appreciation of the very significant difference between listening to news reports of a far distant war and watching it. And what of the professor, was he the source of this anachronistic idea? If so, we’re really in trouble.

     I have, only recently discovered Mr. Kooser’s poetry, but I thoroughly enjoy it, perhaps you will enjoy this one too.

Zenith


It was part of her parlor's darkness

during the war years – its Gothic cabinet,

its shadowy speaker behind a thin lattice

like the face of a priest – but when

my grandmother snapped its switch

each evening to tune in the news,
it opened the tiny Japanese fan

of its dial and light spilled over her fingers,

swollen and stiff. And in the near darkness

my sister and I, shushed into silence,

and Grandmother, rubbing and kneading

the pain from her hands, sat there

at the rear of the action, a patrol

in the weak yellow glow from the war.

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