Said the chair unto the table,
“Now you know we are not able!
How foolishly you talk
When you know we cannot walk!”
Said the table with a sigh,
“It can do no harm to try.
I’ve as many legs as you.
Why can’t we walk on two?”
Edward Lear – Excerpt from The Table To The Chair
by T. S. Eliot
His soul stretched tight across the skies
That fade behind a city block,
Or trampled by insistent feet
At four and five and six o’clock;
And short square fingers stuffing pipes,
And evening newspapers, and eyes
Assured of certain certainties,
The conscience of a blackened street
Impatient to assume the world.
I am moved by fancies that are curled
Around these images, and cling:
The notion of some infinitely gentle
Infinitely suffering thing.
Wipe your hand across your mouth, and laugh;
The worlds revolve like ancient women
Gathering fuel in vacant lots.
I have a confession. I hope you will find it as funny as I do. I live in a small one bedroom condo and the distance from my desk to my Lay-Z-Boy is about 15 feet. I have on occasion during the age of COVID-19 and working from home begun taking long teleconferences from the comfort of my recliner. This is one of those well built, real leather clad behemoths that can stand the test of time. It has been tanned a second time by the sweat and oils of my skin, a patina leather furniture takes on with their owners essence over many years of use. It also has a certain voice, a low squeak and bark that leather makes when your body settles into it, particularly in the summer. It makes that sound of leather rubbing on leather when you move about in it changing positions. It talks to me in a pleasant greeting telling me; “settle down, get comfortable, put your feet up.” It has talked to me so long in that leathery low voice that I cease to give it a second thought.
I was chatting with my girl friend the other night from its comfortable confines and she said, “What are you doing? What’s that sound?” I said, “What sound?” She said, “It sounds like you have terrible gas tonight.” I laughed, “this sound?” and I raised and lowered the recliner’s foot rest a few times continuously, suddenly realizing that the microphone on an Apple I-Phone picks up that leather squeaking as exactly like a huge fart. My recliner has become a giant whoopee cushion. We both started giggling wondering how many people on group conference calls with me recently were wondering who was in such distress. We laughed and laughed. It’s reassuring to know that neither of us have out grown a good fart joke. But, I think I need to rethink taking conference calls from the recliner. I have a certain professional decorum to uphold….
The Chair She Sits In
by Albert Rios (1952
I’ve heard this thing where, when someone dies,
People close up all the holes around the house—
The keyholes, the chimney, the windows,
Even the mouths of the animals, the dogs and the pigs.
It’s so the soul won’t be confused, or tempted.
It’s so when the soul comes out of the body it’s been in
But that doesn’t work anymore,
It won’t simply go into another one
And try to make itself at home,
Pretending as if nothing happened.
There’s no mystery—it’s too much work to move on.
It isn’t anybody’s fault. A soul is like any of us.
It gets used to things, especially after a long life.
The way I sit in my living-room chair,
The indentation I have put in it now
After so many years—that’s how I understand.
It’s my chair,
And I know how to sit in it