A Child’s Prayer to the Patron Saint of Television

by Nancy Hartness


A poem inspired by St. Clare

Artist Statement

Television, frequent library visits and imaginative play shaped my life as a child in the 1950s. As I was writing this poem, I noticed the ghost of Flannery O'Connor's mother leaning over my shoulder saying, "You WOULD think of Howdy Doody while looking at a painting of your favorite saint."

Project Entry

"A Child’s Prayer to the Patron Saint of Television"

Dear Saint Clare,
Thank you for Mister Philo Farnsworth
Who invented T.V.
I hope he’s not too weird in Heaven.

Thank you for The Mickey Mouse Club.
Momma banished us along with the T.V. from
The living room where our dancing feet
Wore out the carpet. She covered up the bald spot.

Thank you that I, of all the kids, knew
Best where to whack the cabinet and
Command the picture to return.

Thank you for Howdy Doody,
Phineas T. Bluster,
Flub-a-Dub and
Clarabell, the Holy Clown, who
Never spoke but once.

Thank you for the Westerns,
Soap Operas and
Jack Paar.
Thank you for the Saturday Afternoon Movie.

And especially most of all,
Mother Clare,
Thank you for Samuel H. Kress
Who gave so much before
He died in 1955.