Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Poetry Tuesday: "Vacation" by Rita Dove



Vacation

I love the hour before takeoff,
that stretch of no time, no home
but the gray vinyl seats linked like
unfolding paper dolls. Soon we shall
be summoned to the gate, soon enough
there’ll be the clumsy procedure of row numbers
and perforated stubs—but for now
I can look at these ragtag nuclear families
with their cooing and bickering
or the heeled bachelorette trying
to ignore a baby’s wail and the baby’s
exhausted mother waiting to be called up early
while the athlete, one monstrous hand
asleep on his duffel bag, listens,
perched like a seal trained for the plunge.
Even the lone executive
who has wandered this far into summer
with his lasered itinerary, briefcase
knocking his knees—even he
has worked for the pleasure of bearing
no more than a scrap of himself
into this hall. He’ll dine out, she’ll sleep late,
they’ll let the sun burn them happy all morning
—a little hope, a little whimsy
before the loudspeaker blurts
and we leap up to become
Flight 828, now boarding at Gate 17.

--Rita Dove


Tomorrow: Betty's Va-cay Pics!

23 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

A reminder of why I hate to fly...

Old Kitty said...

Yay!! Loved this!! It is so the quintessential airport scene!! Thank you BB!! And you got the "gray vinyl seats linked like unfolding paper dolls" perfect pic to!! Yay! Take care
x

Tabor said...

Someone like air travel...really...must be a masochist.

Ann said...

I can't remember the last time I had an actual vacation. All they ever are for me are staycations :)

Daisy said...

What a great poem! I loved the unfolding paper dolls image. Cool! Have a great day, Betty! I'll look forward to your vacation pictures.

Tracy said...

I see they skipped the part about the pat down...:-)

Tracy said...

ohhh, I love these lines...that stretch of no time, no home
but the gray vinyl seats linked like unfolding paper dolls.
That is cool...I use to like to fly and I loved the part about families being able to greet their loved ones at the gate. Security has taken so much fun out of airports!

Flartus said...

Love your airport pics. And the poem...but it begs a companion poem. What about the folks waiting to fly home? A whole different kind of anticipation (or dread!).

Seams Inspired said...

Felt like I was right there beside the writer! Thanks for the culture and great imagery.

PS... I love to fly. I love everything about it. :o)

Happy Tuesday!

Madi and Mom said...

BB you find the best poems....
I bet there have been a few poems written in the Airports on the East coast this week. Many folks are actually sleeping on cots in New York City!!!
The trials and tribulations of flying... looking forward to your pictures...
Hugs Madi and Mom

Nicole said...

:-) Love a good poem

Joe Cap said...

I always relax and enjoy the hour before boarding...
I am past security, I have confirmed I am at the right gate, and the flight is on time...
I can sit down and relax and wait.

Out on the prairie said...

A good description of travel,I enjoy looking at all the others wondering about their lives while we all have became a family.

welcome to my world of poetry said...

I enjoyed the poem but it is all the hanging around the airport I don't like. If I could walk on the plane that would suit me fine,

Happy Nedw Year.
Yvonne.

Talli Roland said...

Wonderful poem and one I can totally relate to as I take off for vacation on Thursday! :)

Hope you had a lovely Christmas, BB!

Sarah said...

Airport is indeed an interesting place. Vacation though, is an unfamaliar concept for me right now.

Baby Sister said...

I love that. And it's so clever!! Oh, and I love your new header too!!

Cheeseboy said...

Never has a sunburn sounded so inviting.

Liz said...

I'm not a poetry girl, but that line up of chairs felt ominous to me!

faye said...

Still prefer to fly to my
destination, but the delays
and endless hours of waiting for
that boarding call make me a
little irritable.

LittleSilkDress said...

This is perfect! I actually do love air travel and cannot wait until I'm doing it for vacation instead of work :). Hope you are enjoying a glorious holiday season, BB!

Pat Tillett said...

I'm not in love with flying, but I am in love with airports...
sit in one spot for 15 minutes and just observe...

mskanorado said...

I know this may sound a bit silly but I do love airports, I'm a people watcher which is probably a large part of why. I have been flying since I was young and I don't do it often,
So when I do travel via airports I enjoy them...minus the bit intense new air security policies (body scans, intense pat downs)...I have not experienced those yet, as I haven't traveled in over a year, but there is just something about airports that I enjoy!