"One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture
and, if possible, speak a few reasonable words. " ~Goethe

~ also, if possible, to dwell in "a house where all's accustomed, ceremonious." ~Yeats

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Front Porch of My Life

A HOUSE WHERE ALL'S ACCUSTOMED, CEREMONIOUS
Illustration for May Day from A Time to Keep
by throw - back American illustrator and writer
Tasha Tudor (1915 - 2008)

After eight weeks of travelogues (Berlin, Philadelphia, Hanover, Paris), here is a change of pace. Where is one of the best places to spend a good deal of the summer? Why, Out on the Porch, of course! So many happy memories of sitting in the rocking chairs at dusk; swinging -- sometimes precariously -- on the porch swing, playing in the miniature sandbox, building a fort or setting up a dollhouse, preparing the garden vegetables, waiting for the mailman, hoping for a friend to drop by or running over to someone else's porch and ringing the doorbell, perusing poems about front porches, reading -- maybe even writing! -- the great American novel. Cliches?

The Drama Critic Warns of Cliches
1
"When the curtain opens
on a front porch," says the critic,
"I walk out," meaning
I suppose those ubiquitous
rocking-chairs, an old grand-
ma or pa, the usual cataclysm
of ho-hum raw emotion,
plenitude of gnats, fireflies, and
wisteria at dusk.
Let me not omit
from this banned semiology
of porches, my own front porch
on the Maryland corner
of First and Anson, almost blotted out
by a scrim of rhododendrons
fanged with pink blooms. . . .

2
"Even worse," the critic continues,
"someone's mother always has cancer." It's true,
my mother does have cancer;
it's a cliche, a convention, you can hardly
blame her. Probably
I have cancer too, almost certainly;
perhaps it has already leaked down,
down to my two daughters, killing
each other so innocently there on the porch.
Perhaps the clear scrim of blood
is already transformed, the understudies
already warmed up
and taking over. . . .
. . . Surely
this is my front porch for life.

by Evan Zimroth (b 1943)
contemporary American novelist, poet, professor

Detail from The Old Checkered House, 1944
by renowned and unique American folk artist
Grandma ~ Anna Mary Robertson ~ Moses (1860 - 1861)

"All this was before the big supermarkets
and shopping centers and affluent subdivisions
with no sidewalks and the monster highways
and the innocence lost.
It was even before there was television,
and people would not close their doors and shut
their curtains to watch the quiz games or the comedy
hours or the talk shows where everybody talks at once.
We would sit out on our front porches in the hot,
serene nights and say hello to everyone who walked by."


from My Dog Skip (p 6 - 7)
by endearing American author and pet - lover
Willie Morris (1934 - 1999)

***********************************

A few of my odd little front porches:
1979

1980

1981

1990

1994

2001

2011

SEE YOU IN TWO WEEKS FOR MY
Next Fortnightly Post
Thursday, August 14th

Between now and then, read
THE QUOTIDIAN KIT
my shorter, almost daily blog posts
www.dailykitticarriker.blogspot.com


Looking for a good book? Try
KITTI'S LIST
my running list of recent reading
www.kittislist.blogspot.com

1 comment:

  1. Annie T. writes: "That front porch (& the family on it) looks very familiar! Hoping you are all well on your front porches of today. And - BTW - thanks for sharing your front porch with me for a time!

    ReplyDelete