Naming of Parts — Odds Are

I was going to link to this poem today — it is one of my favorites and I try to read it every spring. But it is gray and rainy here, so I thought we needed something more upbeat.

In my family, I am notorious for becoming infatuated with a song and playing it obsessively, until EVERYONE including the Slobbering Beast groans when they hear the first few notes.  (My son recently reminded my husband how lucky he was not to carpool with us in the morning because “You don’t have to hear about Jane and that dude wearing a corset all the time. Which is just weird.” Lou Reed, wherever you are, I salute you.)

But sometimes I hit on a winner, like this one. It has become our morning wake-up song, our roll down the windows and sing on the way home from school song, our dance around the kitchen after dinner song. Play it a few hundred times — it grows on you. (And read the ticker tape at the bottom if you need a laugh.)



Liz Michalski


  1. Vaughn Roycroft on April 15, 2014 at 10:03 am

    Thought-provoking poem, good song, great sentiments. Thanks for passing them along, Liz!

    • liz on April 16, 2014 at 7:13 am

      My pleasure, Vaughn — thanks for stopping by!

  2. Norman on April 15, 2014 at 11:29 am

    I love “Naming of Parts.” Henry Reed:
    “Japonica Glistens like coral in all of the neighboring gardens,
    And to-day we have naming of parts . . . “

    • liz on April 16, 2014 at 7:14 am

      It is one of my favorites too, Norman. I think I first read it in high school and it is a poem that has stayed with me all these years.

  3. Norman on April 15, 2014 at 11:32 am

    “And this you can see is the bolt. The purpose of this
    Is to open the breech, as you see. We can slide it
    Rapidly backwards and forwards: we call this
    Easing the spring. And rapidly backwards and forwards
    The early bees are assaulting and fumbling the flowers:
    They call it easing the Spring.”

  4. Jan O'Hara (Tartitude) on April 15, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    Wow. I loved the poem, but the audio version was even more captivating. I don’t make a practice of listening to audiobooks, but I’ve been missing out.

    • liz on April 16, 2014 at 7:15 am

      It’s so melancholy, Jan. I’m glad you liked it. It would be interesting to hear a modern reading. I’d always thought of the solder’s thoughts as being so wistful.

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