Poem: “The Funnies” — when cartoons brought laughter…



each Sunday, my father

changed out of church clothes

kneeling on the living room carpet

along with my little sister and me

to read us what was then known as

“the funnies”


Marilyn and I could not always

laugh with Dagwood, Katzenjammer

I had been known to have nightmares

over the fate of Prince Valiant


once my newspaperman father

had to bring home next week’s

Valiant appearance

proving my hero

was safe from the rats


funnies were in color

unlike war news

splashed in oversized black/white

along more serious pages of “the papers”


some cartoonists


their entire week’s “strip”

to sagas of kittens and knitting


when the knitter

was elsewhere

tabbies and tigers scampered

to her basket of yarn and new work


detaching long needles

unwinding sweater or scarf

scattering yarn balls

across bright living room rugs


since this past November

— cartoons no longer laughing matters

an entire litter somehow invaded

the work room

where I left



time itself four-footed

undoing all of my stitchery



Lathrup Village, near Detroit, Michigan


12 thoughts on “Poem: “The Funnies” — when cartoons brought laughter…

    • Joy, I am delighted to find already that fathers reading funnies were normal parts of the human experience in childhood. I can just see them all now — sitting stony-faced in a silent ring, each with his/her own i-phone. We were blessed, as I am by YOU! Merci mille fois! c

  1. Dear Penelope, I am simply delighted with YOUR delight. There is no one whose response to my poem(s) matters more. We shared all those blessed critique sessions all those Cool Woman years, and I know your standards. Honored and grateful, Carolyn

  2. So evocative…brings back a time that was, or perhaps one that was not but yet resides in one’s selective memory as a true thing! Loved this! And the cats….the ones that lived and breathed in our daily lives, and the other ones that live only in the imagination as metaphors for so much else.

  3. Catherine, how dear of you to write. I am glad this moves you. I had NO IDEA where it was going – thought it was about nostalgia, and then bitter reality insisted that Muse really has a mind of her own! Would love a (private) update on you and your life now. I’ve come across your name a number of times this busy week, and my curiosity is high about current priorities. Thank you for our friendship – so few encounters, such richesse! Blessings, c

    • Lynn, I so appreciate our renewed connection! Thank you for taking the poem even farther and deeper than the Muse herself seemed to take it this morning. Writing this was like being in a sulky, with a runaway horse — I could not rein it in. Thought it was about nostalgia — and then bitter reality surrounded like a fog. And yes, kittens real, kittens remembered, kittens even imagined. So gratefu! c

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