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Listening to Fats Waller
Richard Greene


I think
this was the music of my mother’s youth.
She danced like a flapper, I suppose,
something it can be hard
to imagine one’s mother doing,
but she showed me the Charleston
when I was in my teens.
We danced it the only way you can,
mother and son,
between the sofa and the baby grand.

© by Richard Greene.

Used with the author’s permission.


Richard Greene began writing poetry in the 8th grade, inspired by the opening lines of Longfellow's “Evangeline”—“This is the forest primeval. The murmuring pines and the hemlocks / Bearded in moss and in garments green, indistinct in the twilight"—which he was required to read in class. In college, after a classmate deemed Richard’s rhyming poem “trite,” he stopped writing until, a couple of years later, a class with Henry Rago, subsequently editor of Poetry magazine, inspired him to resume his efforts. But poetry fell by the wayside for almost forty years as a busy career in international development consumed his life. As retirement approached, however, Richard’s dedication to poetry returned; he has since published three chapbooks: The Broken Guitar: Poems of War; Becoming Old: Poems of Aging; Painting with Words: Landscapes in Verse; and one full -length collection, To Talk of Many Things: Selected Poems. Richard, who lives in Nyack, New York, shares a "poem of the week" with anyone interested; get on his mailing list by requesting it at



Post New Comment:
"the only way you can, energetically." Love it.
Posted 05/23/2023 01:53 PM
Lovely - evokes pleasant images. Exactly the reasons why poetry is so enjoyable!
Posted 05/21/2023 02:48 PM
Lori Levy:
Beautiful memory.
Posted 05/21/2023 12:59 PM
Sarah Russell:
Perfect memories! And readers, if you want a treat, subscribe to Richards weekly poem offering. Something I look forward to every Sunday. Thanks, Richard!
Posted 05/21/2023 12:01 PM
Leslie Hodge:
Love this!
Posted 05/21/2023 10:52 AM
Very nice blend of fond memories, nostalgia and imagery.
Posted 05/21/2023 09:25 AM
This is a Mothers Day poem, for sure, and I can see the hands and knees flying.
Posted 05/21/2023 07:42 AM

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