photo by Jeanne (painted by Annika)
Instead of composing my own poem about “manners” today, I want to share these hilarious bits from other poets. These are today’s prompt from Jan Hutchinson.
Write a poem made up of suggestions (real or absurd) for
appropriate manners or behavior in specific situations. You might
talk about being taught manners. Or you might simply entitle your
poem “Manners” and go somewhere unexpected.
Carrie says it’s more rude to stare at a blind man on the street
than to make a fat person joke about someone on TV.
If someone you know
who died long ago
appears to you in dream,
it is rude to point out to them
that they are actually already dead.
…silence is always good manners
and often a clever thing to say
when you are at a party.
in “Social Life”
Mary June’s brother Willard always had
just a certain corner of his handkerchief
hanging out of his hip pocket. That was
my first intimation of a personal style.
My hair wouldn’t comb down; so
every night for years I wore
one of Aunt Klara’s silk stockings
pulled firmly on top of my head.
When we had company my mother was always
afraid I would swing my soup spoon
toward me rather than away. And I was to
leave a little, not scraps like a dog at the last.
These glimpses of decorum in my early life
have fitted me for success. My manners,
my neat handkerchief, and my tame haircut
have seen me through everyday encounters with society.
in The Way It Is
Sit, she said. The wolf sat. Shake, she said.
He held his face and tail still
and shook everything in between. His fur
stood out in all directions. Sparks flew.
Dear sister, she wrote. His yellow eyes
followed the words discreetly. I have imagined
a wolf. He smells bad. He pants and his long tongue
drips onto the rug, my favorite rug. It has arrows
and urns and diamonds in it. The wolf sits
where I’ve stared all morning hoping
for a heron: statuesque, aloof,
enigmatic. Be that way, the wolf said.
There are other poets.