Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Blues for Esther Wagner

[Esther Wagner (1928-1989) earned a B.A. and a Ph.D. from Bryn Mawr. She taught at several liberal arts colleges, including the University of Puget Sound. She was a well read, generous conversationalist, colleague, and critic. She co-authored a novel, The Gift of Rome (1961) with one of her husbands, John Wagner. T.S. Eliot was a friend of her father's family, and she became friends with Erle Stanley Gardner, among other writers.]


It's too sad, darling.
But never mind, never mind.
Darling, never mind.

Let's pour a glass of sherry
and some goldfish crackers
and have a nice long chat.

Yes, we knew Eliot--Chicago.
We children referred to him
as Uncle Tom, darling--funny,
now that I think about it.

I always tell young people,
if you're sitting on a tack,
get up. This applies
to bad marriages, of course.

I'd glad you like Jarrell,
darling.. . . One encounters
ennui at mid-career. It
happened to me. If felt I'd
seen it all, read it all.
And for me, his poetry
came along at just the right time.

I don't believe in guilt,
I mean the emotion. A waste of time.
I also don't make any judgments
about people's sex lives--
consenting adults, you know,
and anyway, sex makes everyone
a little mad at one time or another.

Well, yes, it's hard to see
one's friends fall off the perch,
one by one. It's too sad. But never mind.

Get me another glass of sherry,please,
darling, and a beer for yourself--
and of course, I don't allow
beer bottles in the living room,
so do get yourself a glass.

Yes, the death's head on the ceiling,
above my bed. It's morbid to some.
Memento mori, darling.
It focuses the mind.

When I'm dying, I should like
to watch Roman Holiday
one more time. Lovely movie.

It's getting dark. And the rain.
It's too sad. But never mind,
darling. Never mind.


hans ostrom 2015



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