Thursday, April 4, 2013

Born with a love for the wrote and the writ.

Okay so first, the title of this post is the name of a song that gets me, specifically one of the older Me's that hopefully is one of the ones that Elliot Smith promised to hang onto for me. But it's a good song and even if it's not your style you might at least find it interesting.

This is the most and least I can say about this right now. My relationship with my mother's father has always been one of the deepest, sweetest parts of my life. A few years ago, my grandfather began a "Poetry Club" in our family. One person selects a poem and writes a brief essay about why they found it touching or meaningful, and then sends it to everyone else to memorize or study it. I wanted to share the April submission from my dear Grandfather, and I included my reply to him also, where I explained through my tears at that time much better than I could now what I really meant to say. So if you don't read anything else here, read that.

I love my Grandfather so much and am grateful he has always encouraged me to write, although I know I have disappointed him by not writing as much as he would have wished me to. He means so much to me. When I was small I was always scribbling poetry like I was Emily Byrd Starr and each time I saw him I had some new verses for him to review. He was so proud of me. In middle school I came into a savage awareness of my own mediocrity that mostly stamped out my creative spark, and every few months since then my grandfather would ask me where was my poetry. I know he was a little disappointed that I did not major in English. A few years ago in an effort to prompt me to create some poetry (and I have written poetry in more recent years, just not the kind he would enjoy!) he suggested I write a Carrol-style poem from the Jabberwock's perspective. I finally did it last Christmas--it's super lame but was fun to write. I included the correspondence he sent about that poem to the family, because it's kind of fun and also shows what a spectacularly loving and kind Grandfather he is. Although he didn't really seem to understand when I tried to explain that I haven't changed my last name, so he refers to me as "Strange." To anyone who bothers to read this I would like to extend my grandfahter's invitation to write a lullaby for your children.

April 4, 2013
 Dear Poetry Lovers:

 I asked Lorraine to allow me to make a poetry contribution for April 2013 because I encountered a poem that just couldn't wait. She graciously consented. Her contribution will be expected around the first of May and Deanna will follow that on the first of June. Have you ever been so impressed by something that you couldn't wait to share it? Mother and I just returned home from a quick trip to Mesa where we attended the Easter Pageant Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. It was beautiful. As he has done for the past 15 years, Lee provided the live sheep and lambs needed for the production. One ewe gave birth while the Pageant was going on in one of the pens in back of the stage. Lee and Carol and their children (Mickey and Jared) also played roles in costume in the Pageant. By the way, did you see the centerfold in the Church News about the Mesa Easter Pageant? There was a beautiful large picture of Jared (with a lamb) looking up at the star-- also Adam holding up the sacrificial lamb (both were Lee's lambs). In the smaller inserts were pictures of Lee and Carol and other cast members, but they were harder to see. Can you believe that Lee and Carol have 3 of their families living within 2 blocks of their home-- all in the same ward (Marylee and Jeff, Kristen and Greg, Kelsey and Randall). And Grant and Krista, Tyler and Jordann don't live very far away. We had Easter dinner all together (minus Grant and Krista and Dominic-- I think they were with Krista's family), but Grant and Dominic picked us up at the airport. Dominic is a real blondie--reminded me of Rachel at that age. So Lee and Carol have 10 grandchildren (and one on the way)-- 9 were at the dinner-- 6 were under 4 years of age, I think. I have never seen such a concentration of cuteness. You must forgive me my current obsession with little children. That, however, leads us to this month's poem:

 A Lullaby by Billy Joel
 Goodnight, my angel, time to close your eyes
And save these questions for another day.
I think I know what you've been asking me,
I think you know what I've been trying to say.
I promised I would never leave you.
Then you should always know
Wherever you may go, no matter where you are,
I never will be far away.

 Goodnight, my angel, now it's time to sleep
And still so many things I want to say.
 Remember all the songs you sang for me
When we went sailing on an emerald bay.
And like a boat out on the ocean,
I'm rocking you to sleep.
The water's dark and deep, inside this ancient heart,
You'll always be a part of me.

 Goodnight, my angel, now it's time to dream
And know how wonderful your life will be.
Someday your child may cry, and if you sing this lullaby,
Then in your heart there will always be a part of me.
Someday we'll all be gone,
But lullabies go on and on,
They never die.
That's how you and I will be.

 I wish I had Billy Joel's musical talent, but in this lullaby he expresses so well the way Mother and I feel about our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. And in our hearts and your hearts, I hope you know that this is the way it will "always be with you and me." William Martin (Billy Joel) is an American pianist, singer, song-writer and composer. Since releasing his first hit song, "Piano Man," in 1973, Joel has become the sixth best-selling artist. He was born May 9, 1949, and was educated in Hicksville High School in New York (honest). He wrote the following compositions: Piano Man Just The Way You Are New York State of Mind And So It Goes Shameless and Christmas in Falluja, among others. I'm sure that many of you reading this note are better acquainted with Billy Joel than I am. I invite all of you young mothers and fathers to try your hand at expressing your feelings and emotions when you are rocking your baby or cuddling your little ones. We hope you will share your thoughts with us.
 Love and blessings, Father/Grandfather

Dear Grandfather,
I'm sure you will get a lot of emails about your last message, but I wanted to tell you how deeply the lyrics of that song, and your words, touched my heart tonight. I'm sitting here crying because I'm thinking of all the beautiful babies and the sweet way we love them, and how lovely and sad it is that babies grow up, and how unfair it is that we ever have to say goodbye. I want you to know that I put the little poem you wrote down for me about the pajaro in a treasure box for Sparrow, and one day I will show it to her and tell her how you read me the Jungle Book, and the Inchcape Rock, and the Yarn of the Nancy Bell, and how we went hiking and had adventures and how you believed in me and encouraged me to write poetry and sent me long letters from foreign lands, and how you were patient with me at silly stages of my life. I love you so much, thank you for sending the song. I understand the obsession with little children. Thank you for being obsessed with me when I was a little child. My life will always be more beautiful because of that. I will try to express my feelings about my babies and share more later. I love you very much!

Jan. 28, 2013
Dear Poetry Lovers and Family:

A number of my grandchildren were blessed with gifts at birth. Some were blessed with a gift of the ability to write poetry. I have always tried to encourage the development of this gift, along with others, and have with some sadness watched it fall into disuse. When I have attempted to encourage use of the poetic talent I have been told that families and school keep one very busy and there just isn't the time there used to be.

Nevertheless, I have persisted and very pleased to receive from Rachel Brown Strange, a poem without title . I need to explain that the last time I talked to Rachel about poetry she said she didn't know what to write about. It was then that I reminded her of "Jaberwocky " which Lewis Carroll wrote as part of "Alice In Wonderland". I asked her if she had ever thought about writing the Jaberwocky story from the point of view of the Jaberwocky's mother. That explains this poem of Rachel's. Before reading it may i suggest you read the original Jaberwocky, first.

 This is a note which accompanied Rachel's Poem: " Para Mi amado abuelito-with apologies that it has taken me a year-and that it is written in couplets, which I know is a most juvenile form, but I'm a little rusty. I know you always wanted me to be more literary-please take comfort in knowing that I still write often and love poetry. I love you. Signed: heart: Rachel"

 Please note how Rachel's poem picks up the story, geography, flora, fauna, and newly created words as in Carroll' s original offering. I think Rachel has created a marvelous response to "The Jabrwocky" I wanted all of you to have an opportunity to read it and enjoy it as I have. Thank you, Rachel.

 Let me tell you of the Tulgey Wood,
 A dear place, oft misunderstood
Where tumtum trees thrum with the rush
 Of creature brayling, shake and gush.
The jubjub,s tender song coils out
Young jabberwocks preen and flance about
Their roaring could seem fierce to most
But it's jubilance that fills their throats.
Alas, the way one shouts his joy
Seems but dread cry to man and boy.
To them the sunbloomed wood is murk
Where many nightsome terrors lurk.
 For this, jabbmothers often croon,
"Be cautious, lest man spell your doom.
He's hasty, Knavish, oft as kind.
 Fear makes him to your beauty blind.
I see you, sweet one, beastful-bright,
 but to man you're a grueful sight.
Keep close to those who understand
The choylings of our merry band
Though strangers sinistrings ascribe
You're safe at home within your tribe."

Despite wise counsel, one day roamed
A dreamish jabberwock, far from home.
Though mother's words are proved forthwith
Malice seemed to him a myth.
His eyes glowed with playful earnest flame,
When whilst wand'ring, upon a man-child h came.
He blumbered toward the tumtum tree,
Burbling, "Stranger wont you play with me?"
 The man-child swung round and caught the 'wook
 First with cold eyes, then vorpal hook.
The young one fell, in meek surprise
 Confusion, shock , in sightless eyes.
The Man-child, grimbrave, struck, cruelly smote
and stilled the last cry in the throat.
He fled, once head from neck he tore
In blood- triumph to his father's door.
As smug father with chortling rejoiced
A mournsome mother raised her voice
 Wept for the murdered child she bore
 Whose face was lost forevermore.

 Let me tell you of the tulgey wood
A dear place, oft misundrstood
Where tumtum trees thrum with the rush
Of creature brayling, shake and gush.
 Alas, the way one shouts his joy
Seems but dread cry to man and boy.

 Rachel Brown Strange.
 NOTE; How many words are there in this poem that Apple's dictionary couldn't spell?