Friday, August 20, 2021

On the First Morning in a New Country (poem)

 Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit Carol at The Apples in My Orchard for Roundup.

My life was interrupted this week when I decided to pull ragweed while wearing flip flops. (I do most everything in flip flops!) I had an awful skin reaction on my feet and ankles, or wherever the ragweed stalks happened to brush my skin. 

I mean, I knew ragweed can be brutal for some on nasal/breathing, but a topical rash?? It's a fire-y itch, I tell you... No more gardening in my flip flops, I promise you that! 

Today's ArtSpeak: FOUR SEASONS poem is for the travelers among us... I know many like to plunge into exploration, not wasting a moment. These days I find myself preferring to ease in... and so this poem.

On the First Morning
in a New Country

What if I don't want
to explore the city—
what if I'd rather stay

on this balcony?
Must I always do?
Isn't watching, too,
a form of love?

What a waste, I suspect
you'll say. But today
I think I'll stay:
Take off the top hat

settle into a more
comfortable chair.
Today I'd rather be here
than anywhere.

- Irene Latham


  1. I love that, Irene! Years ago when my great aunt from Texas visited me in NYC what she really wanted to do was sit at the hotel window and look at the snow in Gramercy Park. Her traveling companion, my mom, was not having it.

  2. I long to have this experience again, to travel to a new country and stand on a balcony and watch. Yes!

  3. I have the errands & sometimes am away at the bookstore on a long day, but although I don't have a balcony, I gaze out the windows at summer happening, Irene. content. I love all of your poem, but the words, "watching", "stay", "settle" feel good. Sorry about your rash. I didn't know that about ragweed either!

  4. This poem brings up memories for me. I love to be on the go AND to take time to watch. Living in another country ruined being a tourist for me. Now, I just want to find a cafe, get a drink and watch the people long enough to feel a bit of understanding...maybe more than that. But, this poem stirs me.

  5. It's good, even great, to slow down and observe. That is what this poem (and, you) desire. Being on the go all the time is exhausting and sometimes it is better to just be a "watcher" absorbing what you can for future days! Thanks for participating in today's round up! ~ Carol Labuzzetta ~

  6. Oh to be on that balcony and observing. I hope your legs feel better.

  7. Sorry about the ragweed incident! And I love the poem. I think I'll just be here today.

  8. It's wise to watch a while, isn't it? To take of your top hat and let the new you might not notice seep into your scalp before leaping off the balcony. Sorry about your rag-rash!

  9. I love this Irene! I often feel this way mid-way through a trip - a desire (or a need!) to retreat for awhile and recharge, despite the lure of all the new things to explore.

  10. Yes! Take off the top hat and sit for a bit.

  11. Ok. This poem just slays me. I'm still trying to figure out exactly why I'm crying after reading it. I think maybe it's the plaintive "Must I always do?" and the competing, burning need I feel these days to slow down, to just be. Amazing how a masterful poem allows the reader to find their own entry place and emotional resonance. Thank you for sharing this one today, Irene.

  12. Hanging out on a balcony in a new place is a tremendous treat - one that I like to indulge in as often as possible. Your poem captures that feeling perfectly, Irene. And sending you healing vibes for your ragweed rash. I find aloe is a cure-all. (Just ask my daughters ;)


Your thoughts?