Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Things

Donald Hall's recent collection The Back Chamber starts with a poem called 'The Things' which closely depicts the sort of attachment we form to small household objects

... a white stone perfectly round,
tiny lead models of baseball players, a cowbell,
a broken great-grandmothers rocker,
a dead dog's toy ...

It reminds me of that affecting catalogue of treasured objects that the scolded child has placed on his bedside table in Coventry Patmore's poem 'The Toys' ... even the titles 'The Things' / 'The Toys' are clearly parallel.

For, on a table drawn beside his head,
He had put, within his reach,
A box of counters and a red-vein'd stone,
A piece of glass abraded by the beach,
And six or seven shells,
A bottle with bluebells,
And two French copper coins, ranged there with careful art,
To comfort his sad heart.