I’ve loved this poem since the first time I read it. I don’t remember when that was, exactly, but it was before I knew that Roethke grew up in the same town as my dad. He still lives there (my dad; not Roethke), and because it’s between Dad’s house and Meijer’s, we drive past Roethke Park every time we’re there. But I’ve never been to the park or to the Roethke House.
Anyway, this poem moved me even before I knew of that geographical connection. Its rhythm and that “palm caked hard by dirt” and the “countenance” that “could not unfrown itself” just get me every time.
My Papa’s Waltz
by Theodore Roethke
The whiskey on your breath
Could make a small boy dizzy;
But I hung on like death:
Such waltzing was not easy.
We romped until the pans
Slid from the kitchen shelf;
My mother’s countenance
Could not unfrown itself.
The hand that held my wrist
Was battered on one knuckle;
At every step you missed
My right ear scraped a buckle.
You beat time on my head
With a palm caked hard by dirt,
Then waltzed me off to bed
Still clinging to your shirt.
Rockford was out of town all last week, and our weekend was almost entirely planned already. As such, I was kind of expecting that date night wouldn’t actually happen this week. But after we got home from dinner at the in-laws’ house and put Pete to bed, we decided to have a very low-key, “Rock Band”-themed date night.
2/52 One child at Grandma’s; one child in bed.
“Rock Band: Beatles.”
Two Wii guitars.
Two Wii microphones.
It was a lot of fun. (Especially the part where I owned Rockford in the guitar duels. Or where he let me win. Whichever.) I really do hope an all-duets karaoke game is in the works, because the singing is my favorite part of “Rock Band.” And it’s even better when you’re trying (in vain) to sing the Beatles’ harmonies with someone you love.
5 Songs I’d Like to See on “Rock Band: Karaoke Duets”
- “Islands in the Stream”
- “Tonight I Celebrate My Love”
- “Leather and Lace”
- “Don’t Go Breakin’ My Heart”
Seriously. It would be the Greatest Fun Ever Had. What’s your favorite duet?
The iPod seems to be in a mood this morning. Its first pick is an especially rich choice, iPod. Rockford has been out of town all week, and silence is one thing I certainly have not been able to enjoy in his absence.
- Enjoy the Silence, Depeche Mode.
- Hate, Cat Power
- Jacob’s Ladder, Bruce Springsteen
- Concerning the UFO Sightings Near Highland, Illinois, Sufjan Stevens
- Social Life, Koufax
- Ocean Breathes Salty, Modest Mouse
- Flying V, They Might Be Giants
- Red Rabbits, The Shins
- Sailing, Bobby Darin
- Black Cow, Steely Dan
If I had a vast reserve of funds that had no particular place to go, my living room would look something like this:
Of course, I would hope that the furnishings would be somewhat less askew. What about you? What would your living room look like if you had a pot o’ gold at your disposal?