{pf: p7 becomes a ‘classic’}

When we came up with this word “classic” for our prompt this month, I was… a wholly different person. As were you, I’m sure. December us did not know March us, that’s for sure. December me thought ‘classic’ was a pretty okay word. March me feels like ‘classic’ is a trap.

(Yes, I’m being slightly dramatic. March me can BE dramatic – March me has earned it.)

I think ‘classic’ feels less trustworthy right now because …a lot of people do a lot of things because In The Good Old Days, We… and then insert some inanity that doesn’t have much bearing on the present day. It happens – the classic things are comfortable, and have been perceived to have a good value over time. However… as March me knows very well, times change. Often rapidly and with maximum unexpectedness. I’m all for knowing what we valued from the past, but boy do we need to be ready to jump and come correct for the new day – or we’ll get run down by circumstances, left behind by progress, or let a lot of people down who NEED you to be on top of things.

Enough said.

Now, those who know me know I love a classic car – I ADORE looking at what I call Museum Cars – those cars that people don’t really drive except from their garage to their driveway, just to show them off. They’re beautiful! I really wanted one – but they’re …not reasonable. Even with their steel bodies, their crumple zones are HORRIBLE, and today’s traffic warrants both airbags and seatbelts – classic cars usually have neither. Their gas mileage is atrocious – and even if I went through with my grand plan to have a hybrid gas or electric engine inserted into a classic car body, not only would it not sound the same, it wouldn’t give me what I want – which is a world where I could drive that kind of car, slide around safely on wide bench seats, wear gloves and a double strand of pearls and run errands instead of just taking my car five feet out of the garage into the drive. Sometimes, things that are classic are meant only for a certain time, and then that time is over.

We adjust.


All of those thoughts – and current events – tumbled through my head this week when Liz reminded us that it was time to remember ourselves as poets. I surprised myself with my change of heart, but I think it’s quintessentially me: old school as I can get, but always keeping a weather eye out for the new.

This poem was a quick, rushed affair, in part, because we’re putting in the garden (in between rainshowers) and so my days are writing in the afternoon/evening, and shoveling and weeding right now in the morning. (My body would really like that part of the day to end soon, but it’s hanging in there in a shocking fashion: go, me!) Once Liz reminded us of our poetry date, I couldn’t help but jump in with both feet. Just for fun, I used words in this poem which remind me of my Poetry Sisters – various turns of phrases which bring them to mind. As a for instance: there’s a math phrase in here I’d normally not use anywhere, much less in a poem, but I thought of Tricia, and of course put it in. Here’s to you, you classy, respectful, marching, offbeat, inviting, cherished women. I am holding you close in my thoughts.

(In case you can’t tell, the title is A Classic Question.)

Like classic cars, it’s “Good old days” again –
The past, for some, remains a sacred space
Enshrined amnesia: “Remember when?”
Our glory days there never are erased.

There’s value in a classic, over time –
Respectful weight imbued with lasting style:
“That’s how we did it then!” back in our prime
But halting change’s march isn’t worthwhile.

We, curious, advance on all things new
Delight in offbeat, random, spare, and strange
And so we change: adjusting our world view
A widening invites an interchange.

So, classic – yes, it’s only what we know
Valuable, true, but celebrate routine?
Can we not cherish “known” but say hello
To odd and bright? – make that our golden mean?

Many of us right now are struggling to think straight, much less write – and many of us have suddenly had new and nearly impossibly things heaped upon us as we figure out how to make our new reality work. Check in with your family-friends, folks! And read some poetry from mine. Laura is here. Sara is here. Liz is here. Tricia is here. Some of the other Poetry Sisters may chime in later in the weekend, or catch us next month.

Poetry Friday is being ably wrangled by Tabatha Yeatts, at The Opposite of Indifference, which is quite the aptly named blog.

The road is new, and so are our shoes just now. Take breaks as we break things in – there will be some blisters and some pinching, and we may be lost at first. Keep walking, knowing we all are walking the same strange roads, together. Pax.

17 Replies to “{pf: p7 becomes a ‘classic’}”

  1. How did March Me not know this about you, you and your cars??!?
    I love the details and also the call to action, to celebrate the odd and bright. Yes. Thank you. I’ll try. I adore this.

  2. I think you & my daughter would make fine friends, as she, too, wanted & learned how to work on cars as she became a teen and on. She adores the sound of the engines, the way they croon along the highway. I do not kid. I love your ending question, wish many would see that “light”. Best to you & yours, Tanita.

  3. Thank you for this poem and for making me smile. I’m so incredibly sad right now, but this brightened my day, and not just for the math.

    In teaching math I constantly hear this line:
    “That’s how we did it then!”
    It’s usually followed by, it worked for me, so why do it differently today?

    You, my friend, are a gem. Thank you.

  4. I love that after decades of friendship, I just learned something new about you. While I knew about the shop classes, I had no idea you need a classic car in which to cruise with your pearls!!!!

  5. Classic cars? You and Len are cut of the same cloth. He’s a car man through and through, not only admiring all makes and models, and knowing all kinds of trivia about them, he also repairs cars (he taught auto shop at West Point). There is certainly a new normal we all have to adjust to, one that keeps changing day to day. Unsettling for sure, calling on all our resources to be always at the ready.

  6. The things I do not know about you, my dear! There’s a classic car museum in the little town where I go to get my Shakespeare fix, but it’s always closed when I walk by. We WILL make a date for you and me to go there one day.

    1. @saralewisholmes: Against my Pater’s wishes, I “volunteered” in the auto shop in high school and worked on engines and plotted… they always brought in cars to restore, and I got good at body work and figured I could restore my own car someday. But, bodywork is messy and engines are tedious, and then I learned all that other stuff about safety, and …nope. I’m unsuccessful as a gearhead, but I still love the look of those cars.

  7. Oh, my goodness. I am now picturing you in your pearls and classic car! I love it! I love your poem, too, but this time, it’s your post that really got me:>) Enjoy your garden and keep on writing!

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