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Original Poem: "Red Holiday" with Commentary

Updated on July 5, 2018
Maya Shedd Temple profile image

Writing poetry became my major composing activity circa 1962, and taking a creative writing class in 1963-64 deepened my growing interest.

The Red Planet

Source

Introduction and Text of "Red Holiday"

When a poem out of the gate slaps you with, "We worried the Martians,” you know you have some serious fantasy coming at you. But as Robert Frost said of his most famous poem, "You have to be careful of that one; it's a tricky poem - very tricky,” the poet, Linda Sue Grimes, wants to warn you of the trickiness of this poem. So enjoy!

Red Holiday

We worried the Martians
right up to the time we
couldn't spend another day
hovering the red planet

and then the rocket rocked too much

I feared black weather was under
our seats and when the beers
arrived, I was ready for feathers—

but all afternoon we ate and watched
Earth from the hatch and planned
the red eye

rain again so much rain out of season

our side of the cosmos soggy with summer
almost gone and everyone had a
weather cliché, always do

what I dreamed in my red nap
was restful enough—

you drank your beer
and I drank mine,
and then wanted ice cream,

I was afraid my straps would pop
so I worried my cold feet
then we landed
and after we landed
we knew where we had been
and wanted to go there again.

Commentary

The speaker of this poem recounts events from a vacation she and her partner experienced which was punctuated by a rowdy plane ride.

First Movement: What? A Martian Worry?

We worried the Martians
right up to the time we
couldn't spend another day
hovering the red planet

and then the rocket rocked too much

The speaker claims that she and her companions bothered the locals during their vacation; apparently, they presented themselves as pests until it was time for them to leave. And then the plane ride was bumpy.

Second Movement: Things That Bump

I feared black weather was under
our seats and when the beers
arrived, I was ready for feathers—

but all afternoon we ate and watched
Earth from the hatch and planned
the red eye

rain again so much rain out of season

Colorfully describing the bumpy plane ride as, "black weather under our / seats,” the speaker admits that she was ready for a drink to possibly calm her nerves. Alcohol and flying are often a match like salt & pepper, coffee & donuts, Simon & Garfunkel.

Then the speaker yanks us back to the afternoon before the flight. The pair "ate”— what kind of vacation does not include lots of good food? They also kept an eye on the weather, planned to take the "red eye” home, all the while aware that there was a lot of rain that year.

Third Movement: Weathering Pithy

our side of the cosmos soggy with summer
almost gone and everyone had a
weather cliché, always do

what I dreamed in my red nap
was restful enough—

The speaker avers that even where the vacationers lived the rain had been heavy. She refers briefly to the fact that people like to make pithy comments about the weather. That’s like a given. If you have nothing to say, say something about the weather, right?

They took a nap before their "red eye,” and the speaker was satisfied with the rest achieved from the nap.

Fourth Movement: Going Gulp

you drank your beer
and I drank mine,
and then wanted ice cream,

I was afraid my straps would pop
so I worried my cold feet
then we landed
and after we landed
we knew where we had been
and wanted to go there again.

Now, here we are on the bumpy plane ride, where they each imbibe their beers. The speaker then discovers a hankering for "ice cream” — but she has a stomach not willing to accept anymore contents. So for the rest of the ride, she concentrates on her "cold feet." Ever get cold feet on a plane ride?

Finally, the plane lands safely, and the speaker is relieved. She remembers the pleasantness of the vacation. She and her partner discover they would like to do that vacation again.

Bummer!

Linda Sue Grimes, SRF Lake Shrine

Source

Life Sketch of Linda Sue Grimes

The following poem captures the tranquility of my favorite meditation place in Los Angeles, California, the Windmill Chapel at Self-Realization Fellowship's Lake Shrine.

The Windmill Chapel

In the temple of silence
By the lake, we sit
In stillness, meditating
In divine Bliss.

Returning to our daily minds,
We walk out into the sunshine,
And the flowers greet us.

The Literary Life

Born Linda Sue Richardson on January 7, 1946, to Bert and Helen Richardson in Richmond, Indiana, Linda Sue grew up about eight miles south of Richmond in a rustic setting near the Ohio border.

After graduating from Centerville Senior High School in Centerville, Indiana, in 1964, Linda Sue Grimes completed her baccalaureate degree with a major in German at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, in 1967. She married Ronald Grimes on March 10, 1973.

As a writer, Grimes focuses on poetry, short fiction, politics, spirituality, and vegan/vegetarian cooking, which results in her original veggie recipes.

Literary Studies

Although music was her first love, Grimes considers herself primarily a literary specialist as she creates her own poetry, studies the poetry and literary arts of classic writers, and writes commentaries about classic poems.

However, Grimes does continue to express her love of music by writing her own original songs, which she records, accompanying herself on guitar or keyboard. She shares her musical compositions at SOUNDCLOUD.

After completing the PhD degree in British, American, and World Literature with a cognate in Rhetoric/Composition at Ball State University in 1987, Grimes taught English composition in the English Department at BSU as a contractual assistant professor from 1987 until 1999.

Publishing History

Grimes has published poems in many literary journals, including Sonoma Mandala, Rattle, and The Bellingham Review. She has published three books of poems: Singing in the Silence, Command Performance, and Turtle Woman & Other Poems, and a book of fables titled Jiggery-Jee's Eden Valley Stories.

Grimes published her first cookbook in the spring of 2013, titled The Rustic Veggie-Table: 100 Vegan Recipes. She is working on a second cookbook and her fourth book of poems.

Currently, at Owlcation, Grimes (Maya Shedd Temple) posts her poetry commentaries. On LetterPile, she shares her creative writing of poems and short fiction, along with prose commentaries on each piece. She posts recipes resulting from her experimental cooking of vegan/vegetarian dishes. on Delishably. She posts her politically focused pieces at Soapboxie, and her commentaries focusing on music at Spinditty. Pieces on the writing process appear at Hobbylark.

Spirituality

Linda Sue Grimes has been a devotee of Paramahansa Yogananda and a member of his organization, Self-Realization Fellowship, since 1978. A Kriyaban since 1979, she has completed the four Kriya Initiations, and she continues to study the teachings and practice the yoga techniques as taught by the great spiritual leader, who is considered to be the "Father of Yoga in the West."

Grimes practices the chants taught by the guru accompanying herself on the harmonium. She serves at her local SRF Meditation Group as one of the chant leaders.

Online Literary Presence

In addition to the contributions of her literary works to Owlcation, LetterPile, and SOUNDCLOUD, Grimes also curates her original creative literary pieces at her literary home, Maya Shedd Temple, on Medium, where she features her creative writing without commentaries. Grimes also maintains an additional online presence on Facebook and Twitter.

© 2015 Linda Sue Grimes

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