A poem for Pauline Kael's 80th birthday

Roy Blount Jr.
June 24, 1999 8:00PM (UTC)

"Presenting Creation, more or less,"

Said Jehovah.

"Oh. What a mess,"

Pauline observed.

So he gave it form.

Roundish. Molten cooling to warm.

"Has it occurred to you to let there be light?"

"By golly," Jehovah said, "you're right."


But light revealed a certain void.

"You might try creating celluloid,

And then a projector," said Pauline,

"For showing images on a screen "

"Look, it's one thing you're not afraid of me,

But don't get so far ahead of me!

What are those images gonna be of?"

Exclaimed Jehovah -- "Vengeance? Love?"


"A couple of characters wouldn't hurt."

So Jehovah grabbed two handfuls of dirt.

"Mm," said Pauline, "you've got something there

You're casting Cary Grant and Cher?"

"No. For Eve I want someone deep,"

He said. "I'm making Meryl Streep.

And who really cares whom I make first male?

A first-mate type. Think Alan Hale."


"Oh God," said Pauline, "a feminist flick,

With the Holy Ghost as the only dick."

"No," he huffed, his faced getting red,

"A serious film, with a message," he said.

"Oh why does my sinking heart suspect

You're letting Stanley Kramer direct?"

"So be it," Jehovah thundered, and that

Is why "The Fall of Man" fell flat.


And also why, when Edison came

To visit Pauline one day and claim,

"I've made a moving picture," she

Patted his hand and said, "We'll see."

And seen we have, with feelings and eyes

Her vision's done much to aesthetize.

Here's to Orson and Bogie and Katie,

And towering over them, Pauline at 80.


Roy Blount Jr.

The most recent of Roy Blount Jr.'s many books is "Be Sweet: A Conditional Love Story."

MORE FROM Roy Blount Jr.

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