Thursday, April 13, 2006
Watching 1940s Movies
Film Noirs have gravity,
so we hold ourselves at some remove.
Hepburn and Tracy inspire awe.
They are Mount Rushmore titans who
permit our voyeur's pleasure at arm's length.
But the light-hearted musical
invites you in and says
that nothing's really changed. Relax.
So you drop your guard and smile along
with the smooth skin and agile moves
of Ann Miller and Lucille Ball.
Then, a silly thing - Frances Langford singing
about a cakewalk dance,
her shoulders gently wagging
to the melody . . .
Her confident smile is sweet
and timeless like your mother's voice
calling from the back stoop,
to come in and wash for supper.
It reminds you of her graduation picture.
Langford's delicate waist,
clasped in a bracelet of belt,
recalls a sixty-year old photograph
taken outside Blessing, Texas
by a smitten GI newly-wed.
Mother poses smiling
in the bright morning sun.
Her first anniversary still months ahead,
she is three months pregnant and casting
a sliver of shadow
as vibrant and new and tiny-waisted as she.