Monday, November 21, 2016

November 21: Poet of the Week, Miller Williams, "For a Girl I Know about to Be a Woman"

So, there have been five poets who have read at U. S. presidential inaugurations since 1961:  Robert Frost, Maya Angelou, Elizabeth Alexander, Richard Blanco, and this week's Poet of the Week--Miller Williams.  Funny enough, all of these poets participated in the inaugural ceremonies of Democratic Presidents of the United States.  John F. Kennedy.  Bill Clinton.  Barack Obama.  You can decide for yourself why no poet has read at the presidential inauguration of a Republican.

There's a big brouhaha on the Internet right now about what poet would read at the inauguration of Donald Trump.  Lots of bad protest verse is being written.  My prediction is that there will not be a poet at the Trump inauguration.  It would be too difficult to get through the crowds in white sheets.  (That is my one and only Trump joke for this post.)

Miller Williams read at the second inauguration of President Bill Clinton.  Williams was a native of Arkansas (just like Maya Angelou four years before).  Later in the week, I will include Williams' inauguration poem.  Tonight, however, I found one that speaks to any father of a teenage daughter.

Saint Marty wishes he had written this poem.

For a Girl I Know about to Be a Woman

by:  Miller Williams

Because you’ll find how hard it can be
to tell which part of your body sings,
you never should dally with any young man
who does any one of the following things:

tries to beat all the yellow lights;
says, “Big deal!” or “So what?”
more than seven times a day;
ignores yellow lines in a parking lot;

carries a radar detector;
asks what you did with another date;
has more than seven bumper stickers;
drinks beer early and whiskey late;

talks on a cellular phone at lunch;
tunes to radio talk shows;
doesn’t fasten his seat belt;
knows more than God knows;

wants you to change how you do your hair;
spits in a polystyrene cup;
doesn’t use his turn signal;
wants you to change your makeup;

calls your parents their given names;
doesn’t know why you don’t smoke;
has dirt under his fingernails;
makes a threat and calls it a joke;

pushes to get you to have one more;
seems to have trouble staying awake;
says “dago” and “wop” and words like that;
swerves a car to hit a snake;
sits at a table wearing a hat;
has a boneless handshake.

You’re going to know soon enough
the ones who fail this little test.
Mark them off your list at once
and be very careful of all the rest.
Robert Frost at President Kennedy's Inauguration

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