Just Give Me All The Children’s Books

There is this line of Pooh that shows up time and time again.
You painted lines on your stairs
And left them there when that house sold.
Poetry on the stairs and ragged Pooh propped there too.
Folded worn out bear.
A tribute on the stairs.
But you took Pooh with you, as you always did.

You gave her Pooh in Latin, the only
Octogenarian in the home with Latin Pooh bedside.
If I doubted before I knew for certain then
That this branded deep a generation, two or three
Around the prose of Milne.
You read it bedside night by night.
As children we were  lost in a friendship of a bear and boy.

We grew up in the hundred acre woods
And laughed at rotund bear and all his portly ponderings.
Each character mirrors men or women in our world.
You don’t look far before you see the Eeyore’s in your life.
And know those wearing their insecurities as Piglet did,
Poor pig and all his anxiety. Its not so funny after all.

You could write a book of all the metaphors of Pooh and you.
Him and you as child, adult
You and he and a language learned from Milne.
What would you do without your Pooh and maybe even visa versa.
Its as if he knows you too, the friendship runs so deep.

He must have felt your eyes, your hands, your heart
And all the love you dripped on pages in the dark.
And under cover, pages worn down and worn out from love of word.
What if there were no children’s books, after all they speak to all.
What if the books written for the young are really for the grown.

If I could choose I might pick a  pile of the treasures
Of my youth
To hide away and steal away, to bury in the corners of my heart,
While buried under quilt. To read of Charlotte, Wilbur and that
Giving tree, so generous and bare.
And even Dick and Jane, so plain so simple
So austere, life was simpler then.
Life was spelled out so plainly on a page.
There was Dick and there was Jane and that
Is really about all there ever was in 1960
Something, the books of my youth.

But Pooh was front and center in the home
As if he were crowned king.
And were it not for him I may not understand
The deep depression of a soul like Eeyore who
Sees the world, glass half empty every time
Always, never full.
And sweet momma Kanga, her precious mother’s
Heart, so nurturing and loving, so gentle in her ways.
Lost in the woods with Owl and the rest
Learning of life through a boy and his toys.
Of people in a world to come.

Just give me all the children’s books,
And let me read in peace.
Aren’t we all God’s children, after all.
We long to run and play and dream of animals that talk.
And get lost in the woods.
To read of talking spiders whose best friend is a pig.
To bend down low like Alice and talk to cats and hatters.
Why would we ever want to grow old and boring
When bears and honey and owls and donkeys make such wonderful
Companions, for the child in us, the playmates of our youth.

Its cold outside and I am curled up
I feel your warm breath on my neck,
Your smiles, your cadence, reading Pooh aloud.
And of all the places he has been within your life,
Woven through your days
He’ll also earn a place in church one day, far away,
As we say words, holy.
A proper ending to this line that runs throughout your life.
We know you well, we’ll pick the parts of portly Pooh
To read amid the sacred.

And Pooh will live another generation
Along with all the rest.
The children’s books that you loved
Will be loved for days and days to come.
You planted deep a love for Pooh
We honor you with the words of Milne
Every time they are read.
How did he know the smallest things take up
So much room, inside a heart, open wide for love,
A love for bear and books and more
And dear Mother, for you too.

Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your hear.

A.A. Milne

4 thoughts on “Just Give Me All The Children’s Books

  1. Wonderful, oh if only you could see my collection. I have over 369 childrens books, early readers on cherry wood shelves, with glass doors. Waiting someday for someone to enjoy and read. (Not sure why I have so many but I do) They are mostly 1920-1960’s era. Early readers with primary colors and simple writing. Yes we love them all. Some are going into my etsy store.

  2. Oh, the sweetness of Pooh, and your loving tribute to your mom, and children’s books (also meant for adults)…so very very dear, Elizabeth…is your mom in the hospital…trying to figure out from your photo…recently reread A Wrinkle in Time…my the deep concepts in there…blessings to you, and I hope we can, as you wrote, have tea and chat one day 🙂

  3. Elizabeth, what a beautiful spirit you have — that embraces the truths of children and us grown-up kids alike. I, too, love Pooh, need to pull him out again for my dear young ones. These books of our youth…what treasures of remembered layers and new awakenings as we pull them out and share them once again. And what a beautiful tribute to your mama, was it? Thank you for reminding me of what we can understand about all kinds of people through the friends of the Hundred Acre Wood.

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