Reading poetry is always interesting because each reader brings something different to the table. When I read a poem about war, for instance, I read it as one who has no true understanding of what it is truly about…you guys, on the other hand, read it as someone who has been right in the heat of the battle or preparing to go. That is what makes poetry fun….everyone has a different opinion. When I was in college, I wrote a paper for a poetry class, and when I asked my professor to look at the rough draft, he looked at me and said, “this is not what this poem says at all!” I was devestated…that was what it said to me. So, I learned a lot from that class…not about poetry…but about the kind of instructor I want to be. I think that a poem is going to speak to you differently from what it speaks to me; all I ask is that you are able to support what it says to you. If you say that the “sugar is sweet” line in our traditional “Roses are Red” poem refers to kisses, then I’ll take it as long as you support your argument. So, don’t be intimidated by poetry…just be willing to stand up for your opinion.
I think it is an interesting poem. Read it and tell us what you think. Do you agree or disagree? What do you think the author was trying to say? What do you think about it? Make sure your submission is no fewer than 300 words!!!
MOURNING THE DYING AMERICAN FEMALE NAMES
In the Altha Diner on the Florida Panhandle
a stocky white-haired woman
with a plastic nameplate “Mildred”
gently turns my burger, and I fall into grief.
I remember the long, hot drives to North Carolina
to visit Aunt Alma, who put up quarts of peaches,
and my grandmother Gladys with her pieced quilts.
Many names are almost gone: Gerturde, Myrtle,
Agnes, Bernice, Hortense, Edna, Doris, and Hilda.
They were wide women, cotton-clothed, early rising.
You had to move your mouth to say their names,
and they meant strength, speak, battle, and victory.
When did women stop being Saxons and Goths?
What frog Fate turned them in to Alison, Melissa,
Valerie, Natalie, Adienne, and Lucinda,
diminished them to Wendy, Cindy, Suzy, and Vicky?
I look at these young women
and hope they are headed for the presidency,
but I fear America has other plans in mind,
that they be no longer at war
but subdued instead in amorphous corporate work,
somebody’s assistant, something in a bank,
single parent with word-processing skills.
They must have been made French
so they could be cheap foreign labor.
Well, all I can say is,
Good luck to you
Kimberly, Darlene, Cheryl, Heather and May.
Good luck April, Melane, Becky, and Kelly.
I hope it goes well for you.
But for a moment let us mourn.
Now is the time to say good-bye
to Florence, Muriel, Ethel, and Thelma.
Good-bye Minnie, Ada, Bertha, and Edith