Poetry by Philip M. Williams


My Tin House

 

How can an old tin house
Contain such fine grandeur?
Too small for chairs, we’d sit
On sweet linoleum.
The faithful coal oil stove
Kept burning all night long,
Sent radiant heat, to vanquish
Cold each winter’s morn.

We’d gaze up.
Above, the distant tin,
Embossed in cunning grace,
Was better far than
Sunday’s church’s coffering.
Our great aunt
Would lift the long necked phone.
“Miss operator, please

“Connect me to our grocery  
Store.”  Soon, she’d have
John, on the line.  “Well, John,
Indeed we have a happy
Day.!  My Newton boys,
Nephews dear, have come
To make a weekend stay.
Deliver please your best
And choicest goods, thank you.”

 The priests swinging incense
Are fine in their way.
We admired their long chains.
Just like our great aunt,
Speaker in one hand,
Receiver to ear, cords dangling
From both.

That old tin house contained
A green painted tin,
Just sized to fit a box
Of Ritz.  It never lacked
For crackers, no matter how
We ate and ate.

The chalice’s golden glow
Indeed is nice, special
In its way, but not
On par to green painted tin.

Below, the cellar dim
Was not a place we cared
To tred. Access was through
A shady wooden bulkhead.
The steps on down led to
A door of tin.  We’d sit
On those cobwebby steps.

Could that be
Our sainted aunt incised
In faded colors wild?
Dark haired girl?
Oh what style!
Leaning with her girls’
Bicycle, and to
Her lips a cigarette?

The priests have raiment gilt
With gold. Glory be
To God. No robes could match
That dented door of tin.
We never asked, or most
Likely we were scorned.

Adults don’t see things as
They are.  I drive to Nashua
Now and then.  Tin house
Has shrunk.  The church has shrunk.
My sainted aunt has stayed
In all her ways.  God bless
Her wild and youthful days.

 

 

  List of Poems:

Songs of war

1. Song, on reading Hitchens' Good Time for War
2. Alexander

3. Acela Express
Birthday Songs
1. Birthday Girl
2. Travel

Stairs in and around Harvard College
1. Stadium Sonnet
2. Gund Hall Stairs
3. Harvard Coop Stairs (Tree of Knowledge)

Odd Songs
1. Piss Tish
2. Poison Ivy Blues
3. The Boston Room

Peace and Love
1. Sea of Love
2. Distant Moon
3. Anti Faustian Pact
4. It is an Honor

5. My Tin House
Old Age
1. To Jack
Eternity
1. In Memoriam
2. The Judge


 

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