#VerseLove April 23 – with Alexis Ennis

Alexis Ennis is our host today for #VerseLove, inspring us to write poems about historical figures. You can read her full prompt here. I chose Teddy Roosevelt’s firstborn child as my figure.

TR’s diary entry Valentine’s Day when both his mother and wife died, one upstairs, one downstairs.
 As a preacher's kid (we seem to have a reputation to live down to, and I've always done my best to keep the trouble going), I was a reader drawn to the troublemakers like Queenie Peavy by Robert Burch in children's literature and Alice Roosevelt in biographies.  So that favorite interview question about whom I'd bring back if I could go to lunch with anyone?  Yeah, mine was always Alice Roosevelt, with footnotes about how she and I would have surely landed in jail together, cellmates somewhere for some crazy idea we hatched.  She had her own eye color named for her (and the US Navy uses this color named for her on its insignia).  So much more to tell about her, but here's the seed-starter packet:  

Eyes of Alice Blue

not under MY roof

her father TR told her

of smoking her cigs

she puffed on the roof

her snake Emily Spinach

there too, in her purse

no Taft supporter~

a murrain on him! she raged

blue eyes her namesake

what a character!

completely out of control

she fascinates me!

come sit by me if

you don’t have something nice to

say about someone!

born two days before

mom died upstairs, grandma down

under the same roof

death clouded her birth,

Alice Roosevelt Longworth

lived in those shadows

For Alice Roosevelt Longworth 


5 Replies to “#VerseLove April 23 – with Alexis Ennis”

  1. Kim,
    That prompt is one of my favorites this month but also, perhaps. the most challenging one for me. I posted much later than I normally do. When I first read your poem about Alice, I was surprised she smoked cigars but remembered so too did Amy Lowell. Today I remembered a high school schoolmate also smoked cigars; she did it to deepen her voice for speech competitions. Funny what sparks a memory.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kim, I hadn’t read your poem about Alice yet. Wow. She is new to me, and it was fun to read the Smithsonian article you linked here. I learned a new word “murrain”. It sounds so innocuous and pleasant, but it’s not. I like your description of your poem as the “seed-starter packet.” Thank you for the journal page photo of TR’s Valentine’s Day 1884; that is heartbreaking, and two days after his first child was born too. I’m glad he recovered to go on to have a happy family.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a great prompt and what a great poem. Your words describe Alice so well. Sounds like she was a character. Now, I want to learn more about her.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Kim, I’m still enchanted by Emily Spinach and Alice’s inspiration for naming her pet snake – skinny like her aunt Emily and green as spinach. What a character, Alice! What spirit she had – you can see it plain as day in the photos of her in the article. One would surely be in for a rip-roaring time, hanging out with her. Yet she also appeared to be fully in command of herself (despite what her father may have thought).

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I do not know enough about this strong, independent woman – your poetry excites me to learn more. I love this stanza so much –
    what a character!
    completely out of control
    she fascinates me!
    Thank you for sharing about your love and affection for her.

    Liked by 1 person

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