Fats and Little Richard would come to our rescue,
but before they did I ached for Patti Page,
“The Singin’ Rage,” as all the deejays dubbed her.
I remember loving “How Much Is that Doggie In the Window?”
for instance, and “Mockingbird Hill”–how it robbed my breath!
In much older age, that star somehow fell in New Hampshire,
just across the Connecticut River from us.
I suspect that six of ten of my upcountry friends–
or every one of them who’s under sixty–
would give me the blankest of looks if I mentioned her name,
looks that Audrey Waterman– Pulitzer poet
of 1935 for her Bright Ambush–
might summon if anyone happened to cite her. Unlikely.
Tatters and shards. “Nothing beside remains,”
as Percy Shelley said of Ozymandias.
Like a dear friend’s death, this all might depress a man.
Well, go that way if that’s what you choose. As for me,
my age-old unconcern for reputation
frees me this morning to change a grandson’s diaper,
fouled by the bright effluvium of his life,
and improbably to imagine an ode to that life.
I can notice– as I do with my age-old intake of breath
and my rage to sing to somebody else about it–
the solemn beauty of long winter shadows on snow.