Allusion

A Happy Ending For the Lost Children by Charles Martin

One of their picture books would no doubt show
The two lost children wandering in a maze
Of anthropomorphic tree limbs: the familiar crow

Swoops down upon the trail they leave of corn,
Tolerant of the error of their ways.
Hand in hand they stumble onto the story,

Brighteyed with beginnings of fever, scared
Half to death, yet never for a moment
Doubting the outcome that had been prepared

Long in advance: Girl saves brother from oven,
Appalling witch dies in appropriate torment;
Her hoarded treasure buys them their parents’ love.

      ***

“As happy an ending as any fable
Can provide,” squawks the crow, who had expected more:
Delicate morsels from the witch’s table.

It’s an old story—in the modern version
The random children fall to random terror.
You see it nightly on the television:

The yellow tape that winds its way around
The lop-eared bear, the plastic ukulele, shattered
In a fit of rage—lost children now are found

In the first place where we would think to look:
Under the fallen leaves, under the scattered
Pages of a lost children’s picture book.

      ***

But if we leave terror waiting in the rain
For the wrong bus, or if we have terror find,
At the very last moment the right train,

Only to get off at the wrong station—
If we for once imagine a happy ending,
Which is, as always, a continuation,

It’s because the happy ending’s a necessity,
It isn’t just a sentimental ploy—
Without the happy ending there would be

No one to tell the story to but the witch,
And the story is clearly meant for the girl and boy
Just now about to step into her kitchen.

[retrieved from http://faculty.uml.edu/phaines/42.102/Fairytalepoems.htm%5D

Charles Martin was born in New York City in 1942 and grew up in the Bronx. He is a graduate of Fordham University in New York City and received his Doctorate from SUNY at Buffalo. About his work, the poet X. J. Kennedy has said: “A poet of masterly command, Charles Martin can think fiercely and feel intensely. He can captivate us with a sustained narrative, or dazzle us with a wicked epigram.” A professor at Queensborough Community College (CUNY), he also teaches poetry at Syracuse University. He lives in Manhattan and Syracuse with his wife, arts journalist Johanna Keller.

[retrieved from http://www.poets.org]

Definition: An allusion is an expression designed to call something to mind without mentioning it explicitly; an indirect or passing reference.

[retrieved from http://www.meriam-webster.com]

Unknown

I chose this picture of a person remembering something, because throughout the poem, the children are remembering old stories. Plus, when allusions are made, people remember things.

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