Mr. Senescence

July 20, 2017

There were those that would have wept to step barefoot into reality…                            —Wallace Stevens

A picture of my family:
My mother and father and me,
all wading in some river.

Must be 1949 or so.
I can’t really remember it.
I would have been two.

But my feet were wet.
My father had his trousers
rolled up to his knees.

And mommy had a dress on.
The cold, clean water ran
through our toes.

(I could walk then. )
When your tongue reaches up
into the sky, the sky kisses it.

Yippy yi yo kayah.


2 Responses to “Mr. Senescence”

  1. extrasimile Says:

    Thank you, John. It was really the felicitous juxtaposition of the Stevens quote and the picture, which I turned up when my mother died, that sparked this poem. What is a memory anyway? Can you be said to have a memory (in the picture) of something you don’t remember (or can’t remember)?
    I think my father was found of wading in rivers when I was a kid—consequently we did this more than once. I’m just remembering other occasions.
    Anyway, the picture is one of my vehicles for remembering both my parents and the occasional sojourn into a river.
    By the way, I wanted to thank you for getting me involved in the Bennison Books project. Deborah was excellent to work with—she picked the two poems I would have picked to include. You can’t do better than that.
    Also, you’ll be interested to know that on all four days of Manhattanhenge this year it was cloudy.

  2. John Looker Says:

    Well, young man, some of your brain cells have certainly lit up on full power with this one. Reading it, my own mind went numb with shock, the shock of recognition that is, and then a kind of tingling set in as normal life slowly reappeared. Yippy yi yo kayah, indeed. Best wishes, John

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