Member Rara Avis
Hoot, I think that last stanza is the point of the whole poem. I'm sure I'm over-simplifying, but the theme seems to suggest that success (as defined by society) doesn't mean life is suddenly comfortable or easy. There will always be something that intrudes on our inner tranquility (especially if we've based that tranquility on materialism). The father/Burger King/Popular Science juxtapositioning says simpler is often better.
Okay, ya got me started, so I might as well throw in my usual two cents. First, since everyone has mentioned it, let's talk about the Yeats quote. Unlike Trevor, I have no problem with using the known to explore the unknown (familiarity can lessen the shock), but I do think you need to make the lines less confusing. Don't like quotes? Use italics. Make it clear these are lines from a book being read. Better yet, because these lines start a stanza, they hold too much significance - so use the line above them to tell us about the book (heavy, hardcover, small and plastic?). I also think you could come up with a better quotation. In a short piece, especially a poem, no line can be there simply because; rather, everything has to contribute to the theme, and in most strong works everything has to do double-duty. Using "a" quote lends to the atmosphere, but using a pertinent quote could do much more. Find something that either compliments the theme or (I think better) something that is in direct conflict with your theme.
Brad, I've heard you voice these words maybe once or twice before - give me more description! And, no, I'm not going to ask you to describe the chair and table, 'cause extraneous description doesn't equal good description (though I will kinda mention the word "comfortable" is pretty weak - tell me the chair is leather and I'll see it better and know it's a comfortable one without being told). The description I think you're missing and could add tremendously to the poem is one about the height.
Don't just tell me it's a high-rise building. Make me feel it. Make me dizzy from the height, looking down at Ford and Chevy bugs marching off to war while pigeons circle - three floors below the veranda - as if hunting their next meal. The whole crux of the poem seems to depend on being high (too high?), yet I never get that feeling of height. Even when the jets appear (and that description sings), it's more as if they are flying too low rather than the character sitting too high.
All in all, I like the theme and I love the reversal that highlights it.
[This message has been edited by Ron (edited 10-22-1999).]