Saturday, June 25, 2016

Poetry Month, Day 25, Christopher Morley, "To the Little House"

Once again into the Funk and Wagnall's collection.

To the Little House

Dear little house, dear shabby street,
Dear books and beds and food to eat!
How feeble words are to express
The facets of your tenderness.

How white the sun comes through the pane!
In tinkling music drips the rain!
How burning bright the furnace glows!
What paths to shovel when it snows!

O dearly loved Long Island trains!
O well remembered joys and pains.
How near the housetops Beauty leans
Along that little street in Queens!

Let these poor rhymes abide for proof
Joy swells beneath a humble roof;
Heaven is not built of country seats
But little queer suburban streets!


Some delightful oddities in this collection, yes? I mean, first of all, it's interesting to see what the editors considered to be "the best poetry" - they clearly valued rhyme and tight structure. There are also lots of poems about domesticity and such - and some love poetry, true, but even the classical stuff (Plato and Homer feature) tend to be quiet little paeans to domestic bliss. Second, I don't know that I'd consider Queens suburban anymore - but, perhaps I am wrong? Ahhh, but it WAS suburban, in a certain sort of way, before the 1950s suburbanization began - this is a train based suburban setting, when the "urbs" were smaller, and when most of Long Island was still potato farms. Hmmm. I wonder if I can use this in a class? I bet I can!