Thursday, February 4

Roman Pantheon chuckles at Grecian temples

And now for something completely different —on this blog at least— a poem you can actually chuckle to. At least I found myself laughing out loud at 'Grecian Temples' by George Bilgere. But be warned, as is so often the case, as the lilting cadence of Garrison Keillor's recital slows, the mirth molts to melancholy.

Click on the play icon below and listen to Mr. Keillor reading the poem (from his The Writer's Almanac).

Grecian Temples
by George Bilgere

Because I'm getting pretty gray at the temples,
which negatively impacts my earning potential
and does not necessarily attract vibrant young women
with their perfumed bosoms to dally with me
on the green hillside,
I go out and buy some Grecian Hair Formula.

And after the whole process, which involves
rubber gloves, a tiny chemistry set,
and perfect timing, I look great.
I look very fresh and virile, full of earning potential.
But when I take my fifteen-year-old beagle
out for his evening walk, the contrast is unfortunate.
Next to me he doesn't look all that great,
with his graying snout, his sort of faded,
worn-out-dog look. It makes me feel old,
walking around with a dog like that.

It's not something a potential employer,
much less a vibrant young woman with a perfumed bosom
would necessarily go for. So I go out
and get some more Grecian Hair Formula—
Light Brown, my beagle's original color.
And after all the rigmarole he looks terrific.
I mean, he's not going to win any friskiness contests,
not at fifteen. But there's a definite visual improvement.
The two of us walk virilely around the block.

The next day a striking young woman at the bookstore
happens to ask me about my parents,
who are, in fact, long dead, due to the effects of age.
They were very old, which causes death.
But having dead old parents does not go
with my virile, intensely fresh new look.

So I say to the woman, my parents are fine.
They love their active lifestyle in San Diego.
You know, windsurfing, jai alai, a still-vibrant sex life.
And while this does not necessarily cause her
to come dally with me on the green hillside, I can tell
it doesn't hurt my chances.

I can see her imagining dinner
with my sparkly, young-seeming mom and dad
at some beachside restaurant
where we would announce our engagement.

Your son has great earning potential,
she'd say to dad, who would take
a gander at her perfumed bosom
and give me a wink, like he used to do
back when he was alive, and vibrant.
"Grecian Temples" by George Bilgere, from The White Museum. © Autumn House Press, 2010.

Now, my own head is not adorned by Grecian temples; instead I sport the Roman Pantheon (without the crater).

How this might impact my earning potential or chances of perfumed bosomy dalliance on the green hillside, I have not a vibrant clue, but it is the bald-faced truth, if you get my drift ...

You will click on the hillside and dally awhile, won't you?


  1. Yes, the poetry rocks and the hillside rolls ...

  2. ((giggles)) Excuse me, while I go perfume my bosom...

  3. OK, willow, now we're getting somewhere! Do dally awhile, Mrs. Dalloway

  4. What a nice post; wonderful images, an hilarious poem voiced by GK (whom I love) and a terrific masthead photo by Steichen.

    Thanks for visiting my blog and I sure am glad I visited yours.

  5. Hi California Girl, welcome to the blog and thanks for signing up to follow.

  6. The last line "back when he was alive and vibrant" is perfect. Have to show this to my balding husband.
    Thanks for the post.


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