Original Poem: "Red Holiday" with Commentary

Updated on February 12, 2020
Maya Shedd Temple profile image

Writing poetry became my major composing activity circa 1962, & Mr. Malcolm Sedam's creative writing class in 1963-64 deepened my interest.

Mars

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,”—so be warned of the trickiness in this poem. And let your imagination roam free to 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.

Reading of "Red Holiday"

Commentary

The speaker of this poem recounts events from a vacation she and her partner experienced which was punctuated by a rowdy plane ride. Be aware that the time-line includes a flashback, so don't get lost on your way to the Red Planet.

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 companion 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. Planes and things offer the mind a place to move, as the body shakes its shackles from time and space. Mining the universe for things to say in poems often allows the mind to grab onto things that don't necessarily complement one another.

But the beauty of the imagination is that its freedom allows mirth, joy, and skepticism to breathe and grow unfettered. The result may be confusion but never bitterness, unless the reader chooses to dig down into a mountain of hate to mine the filth that opposition too often breeds. Going bonkers on vacation has always been to answer the tough questions: do you have it in you to just allow enjoyment for enjoyment's sake?

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.

Flashing back is the mind's way of saying, don't tie me to the present! The mind may say anything at anytime and then remember only what it chooses, but the imagination using the pliable mind allows all manner of yummy images to percolate, penetrate, and perpetuate in the open air of cogitation. Many great novels have hinges in history but stand tall waving the flag of imagination—just don't build bridges on those airy thoughts!

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, of course, 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.

The loss of sleep may drive discussion out of whack, but the loss of memory can bring on dyspepsia. Red is the color of blood but only at certain stages of movement, like a Trojan horse in the stable is worth two in the bush. Never having allowed combat to interfere with peace and prosperity, the hungry mind imparts wisdom to the corpuscles that seek only their highest good in the valley of lymph and heat.

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. The very act of achieving some well-desired goal can prompt all sorts of emotional reactions.

Fright at flight can turn to "let's do it again." But the true nature of feeling the difference between art and science lies in the human heart, where all nature of emotions originate, despite those supposed logic oriented blather brains who discount anything literary. Poetry is not for the faint of heart, weak of mind, or desperate for glory. Poetry is the only place fascination with reality can exist. Just ask those living in the redness that seeps out into life, giving life its zeal and frost.

Questions & Answers

    © 2019 Linda Sue Grimes

    Comments

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    • Maya Shedd Temple profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Sue Grimes 

      6 weeks ago from U.S.A.

      Thank you, Bushra Iqbal! Interesting thought, -- one that had not occurred to me. The "inter-planetary" hint remains a mere metaphor in the poem, but I'm glad you saw something that I did not.

      Thanks again, and many blessings to you!

    • Bushra Iqbal profile image

      Aishatu Ali 

      8 weeks ago from Rabwah, Pakistan

      Good poem. When we think of inter-planetary travel, we try to dream up ways in which it will be different from travelling from one country to another on earth - we don't think of the ways in which it will be similar to that.

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