Mister Rogers

in Culture by

The old farmhouse on the mountain
The glory place where each season
A blessing a challenge
Wind and snow balanced
By green days wild orchids
The indigo bunting
No television reception

Except in late afternoon
When the signal bounced on a cloud
Or tunneled down to our neighborhood
Erik blond and round and happy
Announced the hour for “my Mister Rogers”
Climbed the green wingback chair
To hear: It’s you I like

To love us into being that was how
He explained how kids were born
Imagine that

In Mister Rogers’ neighborhood
The stoplight was always on yellow
Go slow watch out for others
There’s always time to stop and think
Koko the gorilla signing love
Mercy the strongest word in his vocabulary

Let us praise his culture of excessive doting

He broadcasted enough sappy love to make a boy
More gentle grow flowers feed birds
He saved PBS by being who he was
And when Johnny Carson parodied him
Even Johnny couldn’t help but be nice
When was the last time someone said
What he said:

You, yes you, make every day special


For Erik Gallo and Mister Rogers


‘Won’t you be my neighbor?’: Why we need Mister Rogers now more than ever [The Post Star]
New Mister Rogers documentary downplays his radical edge: “His work was deeply political” [Salon]
Koko the gorilla dies; redrew the lines of animal-human connection [NPR]

Yvonne Daley is a career journalist who returned to poetry for sanity in these difficult times. She lives in Vermont, still a sane place.