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August 11, 2016

Poetry Friday--A Lucy Tribute

In her "I Love Lucy" days, Lucille Ball rarely was silent, except for the time Harpo Marx was on the show:

Her voice could induce a "chalk on nails" reaction for some people, but, for others of us it remains a part of the catalog of sounds of our youth.

Almost everyone who grew up with "I Love Lucy"--original programs or in re-runs--remembers one or two sketches as being favorites. I love "Vitameatavegimen."

Last week, at my library blog, I mentioned it was the 105th anniversary of Lucille Ball's birth. I went looking for a poem about Lucille Ball, or her "I Love Lucy" character, Lucy Ricardo, and came up empty-handed. Brenda Harsham wrote an ode, which she left in the comments and posted to her own blog.
An Ode Not Quite Odious

To Lucy of the curling locks,
red, shining but tightly tamed,
as was your genius, always
cloaked in silly ways and
cunning looks. You capered,
scarpered, skeddadled and tattled,
never more charming when
being shy or disarming.
Would I could have met you,
repaid every laugh with
the right words to lift you
when you needed it, as you
lifted me so many times.
I’m left only to gift you rhymes.

© 2016 Brenda Davis Harsham, all rights reserved.

Linda Baie responded to Brenda's ode with this "short rhyme of love":
A lost past time, comedic flower, she gave us laugh lines hour by hour.

© Linda Baie, all rights reserved.

I was hoping to have more people contribute a Lucy poem to a little tribute, but alas, only Tabatha Yeatts took up the challenge. But, she wrote this great clerihew:
Lucille Ball
mastered the screwball pratfall.
Her timing was impeccable--
her chocolates, delectable.

© Tabatha Yeatts, all rights reserved.

The following, like so many of my poems, started off as one thing and morphed into something completely different. It does mention Lucille Ball, and the red-hot fire inside her, but Lucy is not the focus:

Click on the image to enlarge for easier reading. ©, Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. The painting, "The Pyramids of Giza at Sunrise" (1870) is by Carl Friedrich Heinrich Werner, and can be seen in its entirety, here.

It's not quite a tribute poem, so I tried again, and focused on terms that use red. Once again, I was sent back into my own past and remembered the appliance stores of my youth. Small crowds would gather in front of the new TVs and watch complete programs. I first saw Mary Martin's performance of Peter Pan at the appliance store!
On the Introduction of Color Television

A reporter follows a cherry-red
fire engine racing to an event.
Through a red light.
Past the red light district.

Ahead, an eerie infrared glow.

They pull up in front
of the appliance store.

The firemen, red in the
face, race inside to find
an array of the new-fangled
color television sets.

The reporter's flash bulb pops
catching shoppers red-handed
changing all the channels!

On the screens: Ethel, Fred, Ricky.
Then Lucy appears, the source
of a red hot conflagration of hilarity.

It's a red-letter day as Lucy paints
our town red--in black and white.

The next day's headline reads,
"Who Needs a Peacock
When We've Got Lucy?"

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Visit Julianne at To Read To Write To Be for this week's Poetry Friday Round-Up.


  1. Wonderful poetry, a divine inspiration. As the comments on my post prove, lots of us still love her. Great idea for a post, Diane. I'm glad Linda and Tabatha chimed in. I like your putting Lucy in her cultural context. I watched reruns on a TV my father built himself. I was either sitting on an orange velour couch or on green shag carpeting. LOL

    1. We had an orange sectional sofa when I was growing up! Thank goodness, no shag carpets!

  2. Clever! Great tributes - and isn't it interesting how what we think we are going to write about sometimes becomes something else? One of the great joys of being a poet I think, is when the poem itself takes over.

    1. Without getting all new age-y, I have to agree. There are things that require expression and we're just the "vessel."

  3. Love it all Diane! You show the love of Lucy well through the persistence to do something special for her!

  4. Lots of memories inspired by this post. I think I watched Disneyland on the night it first broadcast in color - of course, I was watching it in black and white since a color tv was a long-time-coming item for me (didn't have one until after my kids were born!) My husband is from Mexico and we often have tease each other by callng each other Lucy and Ricky. Love your "red" poem, Diane, and also the whole idea of Egyptian henna in a tin.

  5. P. S. Here's a belated Lucy clerihew (have to add that my professor at UWashington taught me to mess up the rhythm of a clerihew as much as possible, for fun):

    and Ricky, a goofy
    mismatch, those rwo;
    his Cuban Spanglish, her w/ lots of 'splainin to do.

  6. All great, D! I may think of my own Lucy tribute poem. Jet

  7. The mysteries in this poem ignite my imagination. Thank you

  8. As a redhead I am completely charmed by this post, & my curiosity is caught most by your auntie!

  9. "A red hot conflagration of hilarity" is right! I found this and thought you might be interested: http://www.tweetspeakpoetry.com/2016/02/29/celebrity-poetry-prompt-lucille-ball/

  10. Diane, this tribute to Lucy is filled with so many goodies. I especially liked how you started with the comedy sketch. It reminds me of watching those black and white shows as a little child. Thanks for taking me back there and then onto Egypt for a slice of history and art.

  11. Great to read all these poems, including Julie's in the comments! Love that mysterious tin of henna. [I saw on the news that Lucy got a new statue - I didn't know about the "ugly" one, but I imagine she would much prefer the updated version!]

  12. This tribute to Lucy is wonderful. I love your henna reflection. It isn't just the dye. One needs the fire inside as well. You make me want to stream some Lucy.

  13. A post to celebrate one of the wonders of the world, really. remember having dinner at a restaurant in Washington D.C. once, when Lucille Ball walked in and took the center table (of course!). She didn't speak much, but her laugh and the way she laughed was an experience. Thanks for sharing that clip - one of my favorites.

  14. Luv the idea of the fire inside to ignite the henna, I think it zeros in on our Lucy

    Much love...

  15. Love Tabatha's clerihew and also your theory about the catalyst required for a henna rinse. Lucille Ball certainly had a fire inside! The Harpo clip reminded me of how much I miss watching those reruns.

  16. I heard this week that a much-hated, poor sculpture of Lucy in her hometown in upstate New York (Celeron?) was finally replaced with one that does her justice...but I haven't been to look. I liked noodling through all the takes on Lucy!

  17. Wow! The Great Conversation! I love how the PF community responds to prompting with creativity!