Dec. 6, 2001

Lonely Hearts

by Wendy Cope

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Poem: "Lonely Hearts," by Wendy Cope from Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis (Faber and Faber).

Lonely Hearts

Can someone make my simple wish come true?
Male biker seeks female for touring fun.
Do you live in North London? Is it you?

Gay vegetarian whose friends are few,
I'm into music, Shakespeare and the sun.
Can someone make my simple wish come true?

Executive in search of something new—
Perhaps bisexual woman, arty, young.
Do you live in North London? Is it you?

Successful, straight and solvent? I am too—
Attractive Jewish lady with a son.
Can someone make my simple wish come true?

I'm Libran, inexperienced and blue—
Need slim, non-smoker, under twenty-one.
Do you live in North London? Is it you?

Please write (with photo) to Box 152.
Who knows where it may lead once we've begun?
Can someone make my simple wish come true?
Do you live in North London? Is it you?

It's the birthday of photojournalist Alfred Eisenstaedt, born in Dirschau, Prussia (1898). When Eisenstaedt was 14, his uncle gave him an Eastman Kodak Number Three Folding Camera, and he began taking pictures. He photographed many famous artists and statesman and, in 1933, was sent to shoot the first meeting of Hitler and Mussolini. Two years later, Eisenstaedt fled Germany for America. In New York he was hired, along with three other photographers, by Henry Luce for something Luce called "Project X." On November 23, 1936, Project X debuted as Life magazine, featuring five pages of Eisenstaedt's pictures. It was after WWII that Eisenstaedt captured his most famous image, a sailor kissing a nurse on V-J Day in Times Square.

It's the birthday of writer and lyricist Ira Gershwin, born in New York, New York (1896), who, along with his younger brother George, wrote many of the songs that even today remain standard American classics. George Gershwin was already a successful songwriter when Ira decided to try and write lyrics. In 1924 the brothers renewed their collaboration and produced the song "The Man I Love." That same year, they produced their first hit musical show, Lady, Be Good!, starring Adele and Fred Astaire. Other hit shows on which the two collaborated include TipToes (1925), Oh, Kay (1926), Funny Face (1927), and Strike Up The Band! (1930). These shows included such hits as "Someone to Watch Over Me," "'S Wonderful," and "I Got Rhythm." In 1935, the brothers, along with novelist DuBose Heyward, wrote Porgy and Bess. The last song they wrote together was "Love Walked In." George Gershwin died of a brain tumor in 1937. Ira collaborated with Moss Hart on the Broadway musical Lady in the Dark. He wrote (from They All Laughed):

They all laughed at Christopher Columbus
when he said the world was round.
They all laughed when Edison recorded sound.
They all laughed at Wilbur and his brother
when they said that man could fly.
They told Marconi, wireless was a phony—It's the same old cry.
They laughed at me wanting you, said I was reaching for the moon.
But oh, you came through. Now they'll have to change their tune.
They all said we never could be happy, they laughed at us and how!
But ho, ho, ho! Who's got the last laugh now?

It's the birthday of poet and critic Joyce Kilmer, born in New Brunswick, New Jersey (1886). He moved on to write for The New York Times Sunday Magazine and Review of Books. He wrote his first book of verse, Summer of Love, in 1911, but it was in 1913 that he wrote his most famous verse, called Trees. On July 13, 1918, he was on a volunteer solo scouting mission to pinpoint the enemy's positions, when he was struck and killed by a sniper's bullet.


I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®




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