Poem [Lana Turner has collapsed!]
by Frank O'Hara
Lines 2-9 Summary
Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.
I was trotting along and suddenly
it started raining and snowing
- Okay, so now we know a bit more. We have the introduction of an "I," a speaker.
- The speaker tells us that he's "trotting." Not walking, but "trotting." By using this word, he compares himself to a horse. (That's right, a horse.) The speaker seems like a happy guy, maybe a guy who moves quickly down the street and through life.
- But then it starts "raining and snowing." Now we know that the speaker is outside, and that it's one of those gross kind of days. Something is falling from the sky, but it's not quite snow, not quite rain. It's kind of a slushy mixture of the two. Not exactly the best day for an outside trot.
- But this snowy/rainy mix comes on "suddenly." The speaker is surprised; he wasn't expecting bad weather.
and you said it was hailing
but hailing hits you on the head
hard so it was really snowing and
- Oh, hey! We find out in these lines that the speaker is not alone; he introduces a "you" into the poem.
- Who is this "you"? Well, we don't quite know. We know the speaker isn't talking to us, because he goes on to recount a little argument that he has with the "you." So the "you" could be the speaker's friend, or maybe even his lover. The "you" could be male or female; there's no indication of gender by the speaker.
- One thing we do know is that the "you" knows the speaker well enough for them to have a silly argument the weather. You don't have silly arguments about this kind of stuff with strangers, do you? Probably not.
- And one more thing about this "you": we call the "you" of the poem the addressee. The addressee is the person to whom the poem is addressed. Easy.
- So the speaker and the addressee have a little argument. The addressee thinks it's hailing, but the speaker says it's actually snowing and raining. How does he know this? Because hail "hits you on the head / hard." The speaker suggests that whatever is falling from the sky is softer – more of a snowy/rainy mix.
- It's a pretty ridiculous fight to be having, right? Does it really matter whether it's snowing, raining, or hailing? The important thing is that there's some tension between the speaker and the addressee. Their argument may be silly, and they may even know that it's silly, but they're still arguing.
[…] and I was in such a hurry
to meet you but the traffic
was acting exactly like the sky
- Here the speaker adds to the tension by telling us that he was in a hurry to meet the addressee. Now we know why he was "trotting along": he was in a rush.
- Then he tells us that the traffic was "acting exactly like the sky." The weather is bad, the traffic is bad – not the best day ever.
- It sounds here like the speaker is making excuses. Is this the best way to end a fight? He might actually be making the argument worse.