Misapprehension of Richard Nixon by Martha Deed

Misapprehension of Richard Nixon

“Later Miss Moore took the interviewer to an admirable lunch at a nearby restaurant. She decided not to wear her Nixon button because it clashed with her coat and hat.” —Donald Hall. The Paris Review. 1961.

I rumble around among the old poets today
neither the very old, nor the newly-old.
These poets are of an era if not of type.
They are the poets that grew my grandmother
into a poet ‒ she a poet, an attendee of workshops,
of the struggle to be known
and thus she spoke of Marianne Moore ‒
the oddity ‒ I later learned, not so odd
at all. I, a child, loved the Dodgers, too,
talked baseball almost like a prodigy
(this being true for any girl who spoke
baseball in the 1950s) and I came upon
Marianne Moore before her misappre-
hension of Nixon, but what I meant to say ‒
My grandmother spoke of Marianne Moore
and I remember nothing else of what she said
after she said Marianne Moore but the clear
implication of her words was a certain familiarity
with Marianne Moore and the wisdom learned
from Marianne Moore totally lost on the child
until the child became a reader of Marianne
Moore at least thirty years later which was too late
to compare notes with my grandmother’s slight
acquaintance of the poet in Brooklyn. (Did they
shop in the same stores or perhaps stalk the Brooklyn
Museum on the same days?) And this could
well stand for the story of my life, the missing
of the poets when they lived and the finding
of the poets in my grandmother’s library long
after all of them, my grandmother as well,
were dead.

by Martha Deed

Editor’s Note: This poem conveys both wonder and regret with an interesting anecdote. None of us think our elders are very interesting until we become elders ourselves, and that’s when the wonder of our elders’ lives truly surprise us.


3 responses to “Misapprehension of Richard Nixon by Martha Deed”

  1. Joyce Myerson Avatar
    Joyce Myerson

    Great poem

  2. Michelle W Meyer Avatar
    Michelle W Meyer

    I fully agree with the editor’s note.

  3. crsunde Avatar

    Interesting poem and Interesting comments by the editor. Appreciated both!

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