The little women’s college
where we little women went.

A nephew’s obligation to
say thank-you for the gift I sent.

The courtesy of titles, surnames,
when addressing people you don’t know.

Predominance of substance
over show.

That public is what everyone
and private is what no one sees.

Books made from trees.

6 responses »

  1. I love this poem too. The final line, set off in its own stanza, is especially a gut-punch.

    The daily newspaper. The milkman walking into the house and depositing the milk in the refrigerator. Walking home from school for lunch. Fred Astaire as a household name. Widows in black. Sending a telegram for very special occasions. Dick, Jane, and Sally. Selecting Latin or Greek as the third language for your Ph.D. requirements. White gloves for church. Dresses for school. Fountain pens and ink wells. Being serious. Being ironic. Knowing the difference.

    • You’ve got me thinking, Natalie. Maybe the device of that final one-liner was my solution to the generative problem of such a list in the first place. Depending on the prompt to nostalgia in the reader, the particulars could go on and on. So I didn’t really end it, I just stopped.
      Your own list is fabulous; I remember it all. I find myself adding ladies’ hats to the white gloves, and saying “ice box” instead of “refrigerator”. The milkman coming into the house would have had me rolling on the floor with laughter…if only I could. And the serious/ironic comment–spot on.
      Thank you!

  2. I also love this poem, Cynthia. I have a feeling I will love a very many here.

    I still insist on salutation and surname versus first name from office staff phoning me, doctors, etc. Some get quite sniffy about it. Tough.

    • Good for you! Now if only people I meet for the first time would not presume to call me Cindy ,immediately after they hear my name is Cynthia….

      Thanks for your encouraging words about the poems, and for taking the time to stop by 🙂

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