A Kind Of Happy Poem? Cellar Door
From readers, the second most popular question I am asked is, "Why don't you write something happy for a change?". This question makes me smile because I've written several happy poems - but, I admit, writing about happy things isn't where my writing strength lies and almost all of my "happy" poems end up in the trashcan (trust me - they belong there). I begin writing something happy (or, at least slightly joyful) and very quickly my puffy, white and fluffy clouds become dark shades of grey, filled with pending heavy rain. It's not that I don't appreciate a sunny day, filled with billowy clouds (I do) - I just more emotionally relate to the violent storms that darken the landscape. That - I can write about.
But, I did write a happy poem in late 2020. Only a handful of people read it - so I suspect it will be new to most of you. It was an early evening in late October - I was staring at my computer screen, wondering what to write and I thought, "I'll write about love". Then, about an hour later, I finished writing the poem below. Other than being a narrative poem, it's not exactly my style, but I'm happy with it. It's not Hallmark, but it's far from a Sylvia Plath favorite.
First attested in 1903 by Shakespearian scholar Cyrus Lauron Hooper - and then later acknowledged by Edgar Allan Poe, H.L. Mencken, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Normal Mailer, among many others - "Cellar Door" is, according to Phonaesthetics (the study of pleasing sounds to the ear), considered the most beautiful phrase in the English language. I title my poem with this phrase to suggest my thoughts towards the subject in the poem.
First published in the Soul Poet Society's anthology, "Quintessence" (2021) and to be included in my collection of poems, "Damaged" (released January 1st, 2022), here is Cellar Door.
I hope you enjoy it! ______________
He scoops ice cream in the mall at the food court
I drop by the ice cream shop He makes me a double fudge Two scoops because I don’t understand portion control He sits across from me, his t-shirt too tight for his muscles He smiles at me, and I think of a field of sunflowers “It’s really good to see you”, I say Like I say at the beginning of every visit I can smell the testosterone from across the table And smile, though mine is a bit crooked - And I only smile by accident
I’m on lunch, so I’m in a dress shirt and tie Slacks, perfectly pressed and tailored Shoes polished and shiny
I use the word “amalgamation” in some random sentence Some passing thoughts about something I read Earlier that day… And he interrupts me to call me “professor” Which is something I am not - I watch his head tilt to the side As he smirks at me - as he does so well And I chuckle in the nerdy fashion he expects
When he talks, I seldom have to concentrate And I cannot tell you how much I love this about him Complicated are the emotions I feel toward him But not what he actively gives me He gives me something simple and beautiful
He allows me to exhale (and I do) And he makes me smile like nothing else does Even if my smile is crooked and by accident
But he is not crooked or an accident… When his parents come for dinner, I bring out the candles The fancy ones I had never expected to burn
Tonight is movie night
We’re watching something about aliens and dinosaurs And I don’t question the correlation [I’m going to marry this man one day] He pops the popcorn, while I project the app onto the TV screen
And there is nowhere I’d rather be
Nowhere at all