W. H. Auden and the Hokey-Pokey

I sit in one of the rooms
Of a schoolhouse in New York
Doing the hokey-pokey
Like an oversized wrinkled dork
Among the kindergarteners
Of Public School 61,
Who stick their left foot in
And think it's lots of fun.
And when they take it out
And shake it all about,
The unmistakable laughter
Of small ones at their play
Invades the November day.


Faces in this glad room
Pass by the green chalkboard
Near Miss Fitzpatrick's desk;
They scamper till they're bored.
All the conventions conspire
To make this class assume
The blithe insouciant gestures
Of a bright young romper room.
Playtime allows no choice
To the five-year-old's shrill voice:
We must hokey-pokey or cry.

All I have is this game:
A dance that's rather lame
Where you turn yourself about
After pedestrian shaking.
The P. S. 61 children
Laugh until they're quaking:
Hysteric sneaker-prints
Of wee lad and wee lass
Impress the floor's flat wood.
The children would do this dance
For hours if they could.
And I, composed like them
Of giggles and of gas,
Enjoy my time with this class,
These laughing little folk
Doing the hokey-poke.

Poetry by Uncle Meridian The PoetBay support member heart!
Read 80 times
Written on 2022-07-13 at 12:33

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jim The PoetBay support member heart!
I read the Auden poem, got it, which makes this evermore, even more, delightful.

You have a gift and you use it well. You "Show an affirming flame" in your writing.

jim The PoetBay support member heart!
I don't know Auden well enough to comment on that aspect, but I very much enjoyed the poem.

Lawrence Beck The PoetBay support member heart!
I see the resemblance. Nicely done.