Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Henry Gets His

I found this to be a charming poem by William Heyen (already available online at The Atlantic here). Thoreau and DiMaggio: the names rhyme nicely with one another (and with Monroe, for that matter), but otherwise are the contrary extremes of American sensibility, perhaps of human experience. Which lived the better life? According to the tiresome contemporary preoccupation, which was more "happy?" Both and neither, I'm sure.


Henry Thoreau's last words: "Moose...Indian."
Joe DiMaggio's: "I'll finally get to see Marilyn."

Henry died never having gone to bed with a woman.
Joe enjoyed dozens, but in the end loved only one,

& believed that after he's signed his last ball or bat,
he'd find her waiting in Yankee Stadium in starlight.

Henry died younger, & wasn't sure about the out-there,
except it sounded transcendentally beautiful, whether

or not it was cognizant of him or was just a cowbell
thunking in the mind of the great Oversoul,

but if it at least proved amenable
to hounds, bay horses, turtledoves, what the hell.

Maybe Henry is in Joe's penthouse, Joe in Henry's cabin,
maybe Joe is writing books, Henry hugging Marilyn,

maybe Henry is hitting homers, & Joe is fishing Walden,
maybe Joe & Hank are pals, & Marilyn ecstatic with Emerson.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

nice, funny.