Monday, May 31, 2010

oops

                        for Alice Pullen Hanna, 1914-1970



People didn’t know,
but shoes hurt.
She seldom wore them.

They’re wide as Alley Oop’s,
she moaned; her blocks of feet
rubbed dry paper grooves
in the linoleum.

No caveman club for this girl.
Weapon of choice was a flyswatter,
waved above her head
like a steeplechase jockey,
but never a welt for her bug boy.

I was Foozy in her land of Moo,
rhyming morning into noon,
with a fence of Riley goblins
and a raggedy shoeless man.



willow, 2010




Alley Oop was a syndicated comic strip created in 1932 by American cartoonist V. T. Hamlin. The title character, was a caveman in a prehistoric kingdom of Moo, and his pal Foozy always talked in rhyme.  My grandma always complained about her feet being just like Alley Oop's.  

I have fond memories of her reading to me from a book of James Whitcomb Riley poems. He was known as the "Hoosier Poet" and was best known for his writings in the Hoosier dialect, including "The Raggedy Man" and "Nine Little Gobblins".



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47 comments:

  1. Oh, "rhyming morning into noon" is such a wonderful line. Really nice portrait you've caputred here! Happy Memorial Day to you & WT & family!

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  2. How lovely that your grandmother read to you and you learned the wonderful cadence of language. Mine also died too early in her late 50's. She was German and couldn't read to me unfortunately.

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  3. I remember Alley OOp very well, My dad read the comic's to us every Sunday Morning. It was a wonderfully warm menory for me.
    Happy Memorial Day weekend.

    yvonne

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  4. Sounds like the man of my dreams, too. Barefoot in the park..that's for me...

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  5. Art imitates life ~ and all is good!

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  6. What a wonderful poem, Willow. And the title is perfect. I can picture your beautiful grandmother now...

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  7. ps
    I keep meaning to say that I like the new look of your page--and those peonies are just scrumptious.

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  8. In Perfect Step With Life.

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  9. A wonderful memory of your Grandma...and Alley Oop. I haven't thought about that comic strip for years.

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  10. A first for me. I am bloated with pride. And I'm pimping my pics for tomorrow on My Birds Blog. First time photographed here in my backyard. My goal is still an American Bald Eagle, but my wife said, "Not likely in your lifetime." This would be my second wonder, common to most places, but never seen here in all these years. If I tell you, I know you wouldn't tell, but my invisible ink recipe disappeared, and I'm afraid all your visitors would find out about my secret bird.

    I love your dancin' shoes, they could pass for real patent leather pumps. I liked the poem a lot. I remembered Wimpy and his button popping off into the waiting bird's open beak.

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  11. Alley Oop still lives and is still drawn daily: http://comics.com/alley_oop/

    And still has feet the size of Cleveland.

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  12. sounds like some great memories there willow...allwrapped up in a pretty package for us. nice magpie!

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  13. really wonderful Willow :)

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  14. Yep I remember Alley Oop and these shoes remind me of Olive Oyl too. Great poem and prompt.
    QMM

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  15. Barry, I didn't realize Alley Oop still lives! Guess that shows how much I've been reading the funny papers.

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  16. I loved your quirky poem, especially *I was Foozy in her land of Moo,* - great assonance.

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  17. How wonderful to have full sweet memories of a beloved grandmother. It seems to me people were full, rounder in their personalities and habits...hardly any characters left! Lovely poem!

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  18. Have I told lately how much I appreciate your posts? We get history, private and public, cultural shards of americana, and a clever take on every topic. You Rock, Girl!

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  19. Beautiful poem, rich in wordplay and imagery.

    Loved how you folded your memories into this one.

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  20. Extraordinarily fine rendering of memories. It's a picture.

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  21. Rosaria, you just made my day.

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  22. I can relate to your grandma! I have Alley Oop feet, myself.

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  23. Grandma sounds wonderful. And, around here, we call them waffle stompers.

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  24. Lovely poem and tribute to your grandmother. And here I thought Alley Oop was just a basketball move. I do learn something new every day.

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  25. rubbed dry grooves into the linoleum-yow-now there's an image!

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  26. Alley Oop is still around!

    I have bad feet, myself. Not wide, but I feel the sentiment.

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  27. Jeff, that's what Barry mentioned. Alley Oop must be the longest running comic ever!

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  28. Loved it! Educational, enlightening and most of all earthily exquisite!

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  29. I loved ready Ally Oop as a child and I loved readin this. Thanks for the memories and for that piece of your history.

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  30. I remember Alley Oop. And it's important to have comfortable shoes is all I'm saying.
    Great poem.

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  31. Great poem. I love the line 'her blocks of feet
    rubbed dry paper grooves
    in the linoleum.'

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  32. Where would we be without our Grandmas? Mine would have said that yours had a Great Understanding (she did, too, btw). Wonderful poem--thanks.

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  33. And she walked bare foot?
    Great poem, Willow.

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  34. Ah!
    a wonderful poem about memory and bad feet!
    How you bring your grandma back to life.
    A delight!
    My grandmother's comfy shoes were referred to as
    'mogging'
    I always need mogging shoes!

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  35. Lovely poem, Willow! My grandfather used to read James Whitcombe Reilly to me -- 'Little Orphant Annie' was my favorite!

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  36. Oh I loved this..I have a complete collection of Riley's poems...what a delightful grandmother you had...giving you a sense of cadence by reading them to you...lovely lovely...

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  37. I can just see her...and yes shoes do hurt. I still love Riley's "Little Orphant Annie," and first heard it when my first grade teacher read it to us. Pure magic! I need to revisit his work!

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  38. Great poem, Willow! Always feels like I'm right "there" in the past with you. Many times my grandma and my parents as well would talk about the old 20's, 30's comics and I couldn't relate; like "you're just like Mutt and Jeff"(who's that?) or Allie Oop..(huh?)Lil Orphan Annie (yah?). Isn't there a song called "Allie Oop"? In popular culture. I think I'm part "toon" born, raised and thrived on Saturday comics; especially looney tunes.(this is too telling perhaps). Of course I had the largest collection of Archie comic books in Byron; sold them when i was in Grade 8 at a church bazaar. Everything in my world today is still all about rhymingly(since Dick and Jane- ugh) animated and bouncy like your fun poem. I am reminded of a Bewitched episode where Samantha couldn't stop rhyming due to some spell. Oh how rhyming doth conjure! What? Big feet! Earthen roots! The "oops"in frequent usage today undoubtly originated from Allie Oop! Cool!

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  39. Willow, You manage the lines, rhythm, tone really well. Your poetry keeps growing. I love the wit in this, as well. So much more enjoyable than many of the poems read read in so-called prestigious journals.

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  40. Kathryn, thank you so much for your generous comment. Coming from you, my friend, it's such an honor. xx

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  41. I’m so pleased to have found your place.

    Lovely poem!

    loveNlight
    Gabi

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  42. Willow,
    James Whitcomb Riley: a favorite of mine these many past years.
    rel

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  43. and a pair of shoes takes us on a stroll down memory lane! :) Thank you for describing Alley Oops...it helped me

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  44. sweet tale,
    everything turns magical with your fine tuned words in display...
    cheers!

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  45. Willow, this is such a wonderful take on your prompt. My favorite line is "her blocks of feet
    rubbed dry paper grooves
    in the linoleum." It's one of those that I keep rereading and thinking about. So completely original.

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  46. The poem is so lovely and your grandmother sounds like quite the woman, Willow.

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  47. Well Foozy, nice moo like words here too. :)

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Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)