The Kitchen Stove
40th Heating, March 1972
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Which herewith serves up some left-overs.

On several occasions I have sent Alf more material than the stove-top had room for. Since it is every cook’s prerogative to present such surpluses at a subsequent meal, they will now reappear. The first is the conclusion to the explanations of laureate classifications by A. Walrus.

Poetry. A definition of what constitutes poetry is difficult. I think it goes beyond chopping up sentences into lines of varying length so that they look special even though reading proves they are not. I think it goes beyond rhythm and rhyme, whether either or neither or both are used. It needs depth of thought and feeling, a considered choice of words and phrasing. Otherwise, it should be entered as prose. Light verse is entitled to wit and clever twists. All of it should be intelligible, at least on the second reading. If I want to listen to beautiful sounds without sense, I will listen to opera sung in Italian.

To summarize this in four lines:

All my verse has rhythm,
It also rhymes a lot,
But when it comes to elegance.
That’s what it has not got.

No one, however, need be restricted by my opinions. If you say it is poetry, enter it as such. Judges have all kinds of ideas.

Printing. This is the paper which speaks to the eye. It does not have to say anything to the mind because it does not even have to be read, just looked at. It is the product of a craftsman who makes of his hobby a thing of beauty. It is also a category where you have to submit two issues to prove you can do that well twice.

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So now you know all about laureates. Go ahead and get in the act. The next item belongs to my pre-retirement days as a teacher. Anyone who has ever attended an awards presentation will understand it.

If Athletic Awards Were Made As Others Are – A letter in baseball is awarded to ____. He played first base and batted .338. Please hold your applause until all players have been recognized.

On the other hand,

If All Awards Were Presented By Coaches –

Our next award goes to a boy who came to us as a seventh grader with an overwhelming desire to play the bull fiddle. He was so short, however, he simply could not hold up the instrument, pluck the strings and do the necessary fingering all at the same time. It was then he showed his true attitude by attending every rehearsal and setting up the music stands for the other players. He showed his spirit during the summer by growing six inches so he could now stand on a box and play the fiddle. At first people laughed when he appeared, fiddle in one hand and box in the other, but his devotion to his music won their respect and applause.

The climax of his eighth grade career came with the spring concert. There had been heavy rains and it looked as though he could not get his fiddle to school. Undaunted, he wrapped it in plastic, sat on it, and using his bow as a paddle rowed right up to the school door and gave a superb performance.

In the ninth grade and twelve inches taller, it looked as though he had it made. Then just before the district competition he broke the index finger of his right hand. Nevertheless, he insisted on playing. Using the split as a plectrum, and in spite of intense pain, he never missed a beat and led his group to a superior rating. In fact, his performance was so impressive, from then on, before each concert, at his own expense, he has gone to a doctor and had a splint attached to his finger.

In presenting this award I am happy to recognize the fine spirit as well as the musical virtuosity of ____. Let’s all give him a big hand!

It has always been my opinion that poetry not only dresses up a publication but also fits into odd space which is really why editors use it. So I am sending along a few pieces to help Alf come out even.

First Settler

He sits in somber state beside his door,
Or paces slowly through the streets he planned.
But few there are who offer him a hand
Or wish him well. For time, in passing, wore
Away his store of humor, left a core
Of harshness that can only reprimand
A changing world. And dreams and hopes are sand.
His tide of scorn beats down and washes o’er.

Yet once he rode across the western plains
To found a home and break the virgin soil.
And once he talked of new and vast domains
That pioneers would build with patient toil.
Why must the old who watched their dreams fulfilled,
Believe that dreams are done and prophets stilled?

Aftermath of Biography

Whom did he love? Whom did he hate?
Which of the deadly sins did he embrace?
What scandal touched his life? What ills?
What drove him up? What tore him from his place?

I think I do not want to know,
Forget the man and all there is to tell.
Enough to let his art declare
He did one thing, and that surpassing well.

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The above examples of prose and poetry published by Louise Lincoln and A. Walrus Tucson, Arizona 85710. Printed by Alf Babcock

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