6/19/2017

Red Slippers


Of all the things to forget, it had to be my pair of house slippers. That, despite a two-month-long packing for a one-month US trip, checking my luggage daily whether I had all I needed.

My ever-thoughtful daughter-in-law, G, was quick on the draw. With no prior knowledge of my memory lapse, she had a lovely pair of red slippers waiting for me by the entrance door. She had a similar pair, in black, for Tony, too.
I loved it at first sight and from day one, we were inseparable. I even brought it to our trips in California. It provided the warmth I needed for the spring weather, much too cold even with three layers of clothing.  

There were warmer days, during which Californians instinctively turn on the centralized air-conditioning, so then it was still cold for a tropicanian like me.

"Red Slippers" is the title of one of Amy Lowell’s (1874-1925) poems. I marveled at her use of words, when I was trying my hand at poetry—but eventually turned to writing prose on grace.

One year after her death, she was posthumously awarded a Pulitzer Prize for her collection of poetry, What's O'Clock?

Lowell wrote in polyphonic prose, which employs devices of verse such as alliteration and assonance—two literary devices I try to use in my prose, where I can.

I quote her first two stanzas below:

Red slippers in a shop-window; and outside in the street, flaws of gray, windy sleet!

Behind the polished glass the slippers hang in long threads of red, festooning from the ceiling like stalactites of blood, flooding the eyes of passers-by with dripping color, jamming their crimson reflections against the windows of cabs and tram-cars, screaming their claret and salmon into the teeth of the sleet, plopping their little round maroon lights upon the tops of umbrellas. 

Gripping words, aren’t they?

Now, let me borrow her next line and configure it for my own:

Lowell’s: The row of white, sparkling shop-fronts is gashed and bleeding, it bleeds red slippers.

Mine: The spread of white, fluffy, shaggy carpets is gashed and bleeding, it bleeds red slippers.   

But ooops, history repeats itself—I forgot to bring my red slippers home with me!
    

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