Sunday, May 18, 2014

Smoothies On Thursdays

Swedish Tomte with his Thursday Porridge

—Kevin Jones, Elk Grove

They’re there.
Somehow it sounds
More comforting spoken
Out loud.  Granted, they
Can be helpful, whispering
Things to say to get you
Out of that speeding ticket,
Those extra two or four items
In the express check-out.

Other times, they can be
Perverse (as in the imp of),
Leading you into the wrong
Restroom—or out, bath
Tissue trailing from your
Pantleg.  The sweetbreads
You thought to order to
Impress?   Daemon’s idea.
Somehow you pissed him off.

Traditionally, they’re "him", but
Really gender non-specific,
Though for Socrates, who
First listened to his from a perch
On his left shoulder (always the left:
Makes you wonder), guiding him,
Cuing his best lines.  Though
I can hear their final conversation:
“Don’t drink the tea;
Run for it—I’ll show you
The way.”   “No, I am a citizen.
I must behave
As an honorable one.”
“As you will.  I’m out of here.”

Which may explain
The presence and the plethora
Of wandering spirits.  Out-of-work
Daemons.  Yeats said that
Leprechauns were simply
The Old Gods of Ireland,
Who, no longer believed in and
Sacrificed to, shrunk and shrunk.
I see them as daemons, looking
For their next shoulder.  They’ve
Got that pot of gold, after all;
They don’t need to be picky.

Or they could just be our
Guardian angels (I’m proud
Of myself for not invoking
Lincoln and angels here, but
The poem is young).  The early
Church, even Aquinas, couldn’t
Completely explain them,
Certainly could not completely
Deny them.  Safer, certainly,
To occupy oneself with
Terpsichore, and pin-heads.

But they’re there, yes,
I said it again, in 'most every
Culture, 'most every faith.
But my favorite is the
Scandinavian Tomtra.
I grew up, and hung out
Near what began as a Swedish
Utopian community, founded
And failed in the mid 1850s.
Oddly, or perhaps not, many
Of the descendants of the
Original residents still lived
There.  Think of Shaker
Architecture inhabited by
People who, for better
Or for worse, all resembled
Max Von Sydow without a
Dental plan. 

At last call, they would begin to
Speak with the accents, ya, and talk
Of their personal tomte, who would
Help them get home.  Yes,
Always on the left shoulder.
They would generally make it safely.

Tomtra, from what I can find,
Are a sort of house elf, helpful,
Cheery, resourceful.  All they ask
Is a big bowl of porridge with lots
Of butter on Thursdays.  Or else.
Though it’s now the 21st century,
And we’re all beyond such folly, yes?
Still, these days, I’d recommend
A pomegranate smoothie,
Just to be safe.