We’re eating a lot of peaches in my house these days. Both of the Darelings like them, which is a rare thing in and of itself, and they’re yummy and in season. And every time I start slicing up a peach for them, I reflexively recite,

I grow old … I grow old …
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.
(attribution here)

I can’t help it. It’s a reflex. My children give me blank stares. I really ought to learn a different poem about peaches.

When the phone rings, a common refrain in my house is, “It’s nobody!” (Caller ID is the bestest invention evah!)

To which I must respond:

I’m nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there’s a pair of us — don’t tell!
They’d banish us, you know.

How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!

(attribution here)

Honestly, I don’t have that many poems memorized, but the few I do know by heart are firmly embedded in my gray matter and come out at the weirdest moments. Am I the only one? Anyone else have poems, quotes, song lyrics, etc. they associate with concrete actions and reflexively quote?

9 comments to “Peaches and Poetry”

  1. Alice Audrey
    · September 13th, 2007 at 9:33 am · Link

    No, you’re not alone! I do the T.S. Elliot lines too! And my kids give me funny looks too! 🙂

  2. India Carolina
    · September 13th, 2007 at 10:36 am · Link

    Er…this little piggy went to market? Gosh I’m erudite.

    As a bonus, I’ll let you in on my most oft used phrase any given work day. Open Sesame Street!

  3. Anonymous
    · September 13th, 2007 at 11:45 am · Link

    When I see a caller ID that’s obviously a marketing firm, I always think of Ogden Nash’s lines,”When called by a panther, don’t anther.”

  4. Tessa Dare
    · September 13th, 2007 at 12:35 pm · Link

    AA – what is it about Eliot, anyway? All spring long, I’m always muttering “April is the cruelest month…”

    India – well, you actually have poetry IN your book! I don’t actually put any of this stuff to good use. It just rattles around my brain and shakes loose when I check caller ID or cut up a peach. It interests me, how certain actions trigger memories. And trust me, I do my share of the nursery rhymes, of course! “I see the moon and the moon sees me..” and on and on.

    Anon – Awesome, possum! I love Ogden Nash.

  5. Janga
    · September 13th, 2007 at 6:51 pm · Link

    My first post here, Tessa, but I couldn’t resist your topic since I am convinced that there is a line of poetry for every occasion. I find Emily Dickinson particularly useful. I had a committee meeting tonight that made me want to declaim:

    What Soft — Cherubic Creatures —
    These Gentlewomen are —
    One would as soon assault a Plush –
    Or violate a Star —

    See, you know exactly the sort of women my fellow committee members were, don’t you?

    And Elinor Wylie wrote a really lovely poem called “Wild Peaches.” You should check it out. Hers is a more appropriate world for a romance writer than is the world of Eliot’s Prufrock. In Wylie’s world “April pours the colors of a shell / Upon the hills.”

  6. Tessa Dare
    · September 13th, 2007 at 10:36 pm · Link

    Janga! How lovely to have you join us. I would have blogged about poetry long ago, if I’d known it would pull you out of the woodwork!

    (Ladies, in case you didn’t know, Janga is a wonderful poet. And romance writer.)

    I adore Emily Dickinson. And I will most definitely check out your peach poem, because really – it’s a bit absurd for me to blathering on to my children about baldness and aging. Although the “I grow old, I grow old” feels more true with each passing day. Siiigh.

  7. terrio
    · September 14th, 2007 at 6:23 am · Link

    I cannot claim to ever quote poetry but lyrics are an entirely different matter. My triggers can be as simple as hearing a song and remembering where I was when I first heard it. Or who I was with or even what grade I was in. Crazy for You by Madonna comes on and I’m back in 7th grade at my first dance. Living on a Prayer and I’m in HS trying out for the Flag Corp. Ah, good times…LOL!

  8. doglady
    · September 14th, 2007 at 8:01 pm · Link

    Missed popping by, Tessa. My computer died and I was offline for an entire week! Horrors! Worse, my entire novel was trapped on my hard drive. Thank God my local bookseller has a computer savvy hubby. He rescued Lost in Love, loaded it onto my new computer AND onto my new jump drive. Won’t do that again. My brother screamed at me for fifteen minutes about not backing my work up. Thank God the other brother didn’t hear until it was all over. Wanted to drop by to say, CONGRATS on the Inner Vixen!! I am pulling for you! Hmm. Poetry, eh? “I think that I shall never see, a poem as lovely as a tree …” That is one that constantly comes to mind as I refuse to allow anyone to cut any of the trees on my five acres. I love them! I even talk to some of the older, more distinguished ones. They have see so much more than I have. Okay, off before the men in the white coats show up! Congrats again, Tessa!

  9. Tessa Dare
    · September 15th, 2007 at 9:48 am · Link

    TerriO – A woman of my generation! I think “Slippery When Wet” was the first album I ever owned on cassette. Heh.

    Pamela – Ack! I’m sorry to hear about your computer, but how lucky that you were able to save your writing. It’s a warning to us all. Back up! Back up!