Neil Gaiman, Anansi BoysSome hats can only be worn if you’re willing to be jaunty, to set them at an angle and to walk beneath them with a spring in your stride as if you’re only a step away from dancing. They demand a lot of you.
Greetings wonderful poets! Hang onto your hats for today’s Poetics.
Throughout the years, hats have represented status, helped us celebrate, protected us from injury and the elements, identified our occupations, and made a multitude of fashion statements, from simple to flashy fascinators.
Here are just a few fun facts about hats:
~ The tall white hats worn by chefs traditionally have 100 pleats symbolizing the hundreds of ways you can prepare an egg.
~ There is no evidence that Vikings ever wore horned helmets.
~ The term “‘mad hatter’ or ‘mad as a hatter’ comes from the poisoning of those exposed to the mercury in the dye used to make felt hats, causing tremors and dementia.
~ There was once a law, enforced by Elizabeth I requiring anyone over the age of 7 to wear a hat on Sundays.
~ Panama hats did not originate from Panama. They came from Ecuador.
~ Believe it or not, in Fargo, North Dakota it is illegal to wear a hat while dancing or anywhere that dancing is taking place. It is considered a criminal offense.
~ Holding the record for the tallest hat in the Guinness Book of Records is a 4.8 meter (15 ft. 9 inch) creation by Odilon Ozare. He believes “”Hats have always been used to enhance the greatness of the wearer. The taller the hat, the greater the wearer.”
Hats come and go with trend and time, but others are irreplaceable.
In this poem by William Henry Ogilvie, he describes the attachment well.
The hats of a man may be many
In the course of a varied career,
And some have been worth not a penny
And some have been devilish dear;
But there’s one hat I always remember
When sitting alone by the fire.
In the depth of a Northern November,
Because it fulfilled my desire.
It was old, it was ragged and rotten
And many years out of mode,
Like a thing that a tramp had forgotten
And left at the side of a road.
The boughs of the mulga had torn it,
It’s ribbon was naught but lace,
An old swaggie would not have worn it
Without a sad smile on his face.
When I took off the hat to the ladies
It was rather with sorrow than swank,
And often I wished it in Hades
When the gesture drew only a blank;
But for swatting a fly on the tucker
Or lifting a quart from the fire
Or belting the ribs of a bucker
It was all that a man could desire.
When it ought to have gone to the cleaner’s
(And stayed there, as somebody said!)
It was handy for flogging the weaners
From the drafting-yard into the shed.
And oft it has served as a dish for
A kelpie in need of a drink;
It was all that a fellow could wish for
In many more ways than you’d think.
It was spotted and stained by the weather,
There was more than one hole in the crown,
And it made little difference whether
The rim was turned up or turned down.
It kept out the rain (in a fashion)
And kept off the sun (more or less),
But it merely comanded compassion
Considered as part of one’s dress
Maybe you have that hat, still worn today or tucked away for sentimental reasons. Maybe someone you know has donned an unforgettable hat, a memorable piece of their identity or personality. Pay homage to the hat in a poem.
Metaphorically, we’ve worn the hats!! Child. Parent. Grandparent. Career. Poet. Friend. Use one as your muse.
OR you can approach the idea of a hat to symbolize something even more abstract. Are you wearing a hat of forgiveness, reflection, self-pity, support, adventure, hope, bravery, justice, generosity?
Now go and release all the bees in your bonnet. Put on your thinking cap and write. I know you can do it. If not, I will eat my hat!
REMINDER: Open Link Night will be live this week, Mar. 17. You are welcome to link up, then join in to read your poem.