Friday, December 18, 2009

Poetry Friday: Ave Maria by Frank O'Hara

Found this poem, and it seemed appropriate to the site. Take heed, my parishioners, and enjoy.

Ave Maria

Mothers of America
let your kids go to the movies
get them out of the house so they won't
know what you're up to
it's true that fresh air is good for the body
but what about the soul
that grows in darkness, embossed by
silvery images
and when you grow old as grow old you
they won't hate you
they won't criticize you they won't know
they'll be in some glamorous
they first saw on a Saturday afternoon or
playing hookey
they may even be grateful to you
for their first sexual experience
which only cost you a quarter
and didn't upset the peaceful
they will know where candy bars come
and gratuitous bags of popcorn
as gratuitous as leaving the movie before
it's over
with a pleasant stranger whose apartment
is in the Heaven on
Earth Bldg
near the Williamsburg Bridge
oh mothers you will have made
the little
so happy because if nobody does pick
them up in the movies
they won't know the difference
and if somebody does it'll be
sheer gravy
and they'll have been truly entertained
either way
instead of hanging around the yard
or up in their room hating you
prematurely since you won't have done
anything horribly mean
except keeping them from life's darker joys
it's unforgivable the latter
so don't blame me if you won't take this
and the family breaks up
and your children grow old and blind in
front of a TV set
movies you wouldn't let them see when
they were young

--Frank O'Hara

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just watched "Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man", and the scene in which the song "Faro-La, Faro-Li" is sung at the Festival of the New Wine made me think of your post.

There's something too about the song and how it relates to the duality of gift giving and receiving that seems appropriate for the Holidays.

In the movie, Larry Talbot (Lon Chaney, Jr.) learns that the curse of lycanthropy has apparently made him eternal -- a seeming gift to most, but Talbot longs only for death. So much so in fact that the final lyric sets him off and brings the villagers' revelry in the scene to an abrupt end -- that and the sudden appearance of Frankenstein's monster.
Ironically, Talbot has rescued that creature from frozen suspended animation, and he/it seems only too delighted to be gifted a full and eternal life once again. Shortly after that, Talbot's doctor, Dr. Mannering, sets about transferring the two's life energies (their "gifts") back and forth. The Wolf Man -- Talbot's eternal self -- then makes his appearance, and the two creatures explode into the film's climatic battle royal.

Now I'm no philosopher of cinema the likes of an Arbogast, but I can recognize the thematic irony that screenwriter Curt Siodmak was working with re: Talbot’s death wish. And again, there’s a duality in the characters giving/receiving eternal life – both in those that want it and those that don’t – that threads its way through the film and adds some depth to the goings-on. Chaney, Jr. works especially well with this in portraying Talbot’s agony in the face of a tortured eternity.

Anyway, here’s the song. Hope you enjoy, and Happy Holidays.

Faro-La, Faro-Li (Song of the New Wine)

Come one and all and sing a song
Faro-la, faro-li!
For life is short, but death is long
Faro-la, faro-li!
There'll be no music in the tomb
So sing with joy and down with gloom
Tonight the new wine is in bloom
Faro-la, faro-li!

Tonight we toast our happy host
Faro-la, faro-li!
For he's the man we love the most
Faro-la, faro-li!
He's barrel-chested, dipper-lipped
For drinking wine, he's well-equipped
But where's his chest? It must have slipped
Faro-la, faro-li!

If Franzec never drank at all
Faro-la, faro-li!
He might not care for alchohol
Faro-la, faro-li!
But since he drinks them by the score
He loves his bottles more and more
He even likes them on the floor
Faro-la, faro-li!

Now here's a pair of newly-weds
Faro-la, faro-li!
With love and kisses in their heads
Faro-la, faro-li!
Tonight theres only he and she
Just one and two, as you can see
But very soon they may be three
Faro-la, faro-li!

The wine tonight is nobly blessed
Faro-la, faro-li!
By such a lady and her guest
Faro-la, faro-li!
To them a toast, come drink with me
That they may ever happy be
And may they live eternally
Faro-la, faro-li!

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