For as long as I’ve been writing seriously, I’ve had a kind of younger brother’s adoration for the stories of Eudora Welty, Flannery O’Connor, J.D. Salinger, Ernest Hemingway, and John Cheever. It’s one thing to admire the work of an artist and another to admire the artist himself. With Cheever, it’s not so difficult for me, because I think of him as the great appreciator of human foibles. And his sentences seem to me infused by an almost theological wistfulness. I was glad for this occasion to make a thank-you poem for him.
Girl with Bare Arms
The girls on the street are a joy. A girl with bare arms by the St. Regis; a girl
with bare shoulders on Fifty-seventh Street; dark eyes and light eyes and red
hair and above all the wonderful sense of dignity and purpose in their clear
The Writer’s Almanac
May 27, 2013
Mr. Cheever was a naughty saint who found
the world and its human inhabitants
and holy. He couldn’t stop himself from looking.
Our witty American Chekhov (not
to say he didn’t suffer), his nature
was both divine and bawdy; therefore he
he had to use his wit to defend himself
from despair and the urge to kill himself.
As for that girl by the St. Regis--yes,
she felt his eyes violate and praise her
but found it possible not to hate him,
mostly because he kept walking. God bless
him, I say, as he goes on blessing us.
© 2017 David Huddle
Editor's Note: If this poem(s) moves you please consider writing to the author (email address above) to tell him or her. You might say what it is about the poem that moves you. Writing to the author is the beginning of community at Verse Virtual. It is very important. -FF