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Staying Power
Richard Swanson


Chilly mornings, he's in the house again,
the kitchen, that guy with the huge, black hat,
cowboy-like but off-kilter, the hat concealing,
also, cascading, moppy hair, and under his chin,
wow, is a puffy neck-ware object.

That's him, the breakfast guy from decades ago
in yet another yearly comeback.

Grown up, we learned he was a Colonial Era Quaker,
but to us kids he seemed Roy Rogers on a gambling lark,
that puffy cravat the tip-off about shady behavior.

He was rotund then, ten inches tall, in a blue cardboard
container, a kind of household mascot.
On a scuffed wooden counter, a chipped porcelain
saucepan boiling beside him, he reported for duty.

He beamed, beamed a hi-there! wake up
to stay-at-home moms, and flannel pajama children,
welcomed Dad with a great-day-to-be-up-and-out,
to sell a veteran and his wife a modest bungalow.

Eat up, his eyes and smile said. Get going, be useful.
I'm your energy, especially strong paired with edge-burned
toast and slabbed-on butter. Plus, I'm pure. Daily,
J. Edgar Hoover grins back at me, spooning me up.

These days the Quaker guy arrives in a square-shaped
box with apple-cinnamon and other envelope flavors.
He's nuke-able, yet he commands an ongoing following:

Your uncle Max, 85, just strode out his back door
to take on some serious leaf-raking.
At your local school, your young neighbor, Emma,
in her orange and yellow crossing guard garb, stands
in the street with a paddle, bringing to submission
a screeching 18-wheeler-semi.

They're ready, Max, Emma and others like them,
confident, as wholesome as what they ate, starting the day.

They're doin' good. They've had their oatmeal.

© by Richard Swanson.
Used with the author’s permission.



Richard Swanson (1940 - 2023) taught college English and Creative Writing for 33 years. A devoted supporter of libraries and poetry, he was the author of two novels and several poetry collections. A resident of Madison, Wisconsin, Richard enjoyed cooking, fishing, and woodworking. He was well-known for his sense of humor, which was often reflected in his writing.




     Men in the Nude in Socks     Paparazzi Moments     Not Quite Eden



Post New Comment:
Delightful. Thanks, Richard. We still have the old-fashioned box--and the recipe for oatmeal raisin cookies.
Posted 10/14/2016 11:32 AM
I am searching the pantry for the Quaker at this moment.
Posted 10/14/2016 07:56 AM
I didn't get this at all but as long as the poet enjoyed his morning it must have satisfied.
Posted 10/14/2016 07:34 AM
Jean :D:
I was taught to eat all that breakfast staple, to get me through the day. What a treat to smile at this fun poem, I wanna go out & see a crossing guard do their thing! I went to school with a Richard Swanson in Sheboygan. :)
Posted 10/14/2016 06:58 AM
What glee! Thanks again Richard.
Posted 10/14/2016 06:42 AM
love it. hope you sent it to the Quaker Oats co.
Posted 10/14/2016 06:33 AM
Fun. Well written and really conjures up images with a early coffee. Maybe have some of that Quaker guys oatmeal. Thank you Richard and Jayne, a very comfortable poem.
Posted 10/14/2016 03:02 AM

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