Reading Poetry With Mother

 

Reading Poetry To Mother

You may say it is akin to shop talk
Poetry on poetry
But stay with me and think again
Of playfulness and rhyme
For I say, oh the things we learn
From poetry
Carved into
Yellowed, aging lines
Meant for
All of us
Though hidden in the open
in children’s
Poetic verse
Prose
And rhyme

Penned for children

Such as Christopher Robin
And Pooh
The silly old worn bear

Try reading
Yes aloud
To those who
Hold it buried
in the wrinkled folds of
Youth
Fertilizer for the soul
The where they went to run
And play
To hide
To laugh
The words that they grew up with
Those that
Comforted, provided calm
A place to run away
To laugh
When life was not so
Gay

No, not at all
No, not all all

You may say you silly goose
Sitting round in broad daylight
Uncovering a mother’s past
Through words of poetry
And prose

But  have you seen
The cover, stained
By water marks
Made from rings of iced cold tea
Or glasses
Of sweet fresh milk, or
Is it a more
A ring of tears, perhaps

And  have you seen the belly jiggle
Born witness to a head cocked laugh
Pausing to catch one’s breath
Choking on the silliness
The
Dawdling on the page
Savoring the humor
Of simple, ordinary rhyme

Lingering on every word
Of boys, and woods
And bears
And of
Dragging off
Sleepily to bed

Poetry with mother
Reveals
As poetry is known to do
It is
Nothing short of healing
As poetry is known to do
Too
Especially when it’s Pooh

Yet in our stale and stoic state
Of almighty grownup-hood
We find no time for rhyme
And lines of boyhood
Ramblings
Written from the hand of
Such a tender man

We muse and wonder
How did he
Crawl into the chidhood soul
How could he know so much of
Loneliness and hiding
And making up new friends
Pretending this pretending that
He is all of us
When we were oh so very young

You may say its akin to shop talk
Poets writing poetry on reading poetry
Aloud
But I can say
Quite humbly
I met and made
Some friends along the way
Milne and Pooh and all of his
Friends and relations
Are now mine

But so much more than that
I grew to love my mother
As a child
Once again
For we both became children
In one poetic moment
At the exact same place in time
Reading Milne’s most
Cleverest of rhymes
Sitting there together
Soaking
In the wit
Making memories
As we laughed and lingered
On the page
Without so much as a worry
Or a care
Lingering over life
And rhymes
About a boy and his bear

wpid-20140821_093105.jpg

 

The Days The Milkman Came

wpid-IMG_20140220_154934.jpgwpid-IMG_20140220_154934.jpg

Pieces of me come from 1959. They would have to. I picked up the times in which I was born. Birthed and set to grow in soil of the South yet for a time, wandering under the wing of my parents. From Boston to the middle of the US. I have memories of the milk truck, as I walk my dogs around this village. At dusk. Dusty memories appear. I see only the blurry face of him, the milkman, we did not know his name. We, the children, but it came. Mana, all we’d need. These were the days of boundaries of want. It was all right there. There were sweaty glasses of iced tea and warm milk. And clearing one’s plate. And stories of children in Africa in want. And books on the bed after school, shiny and new. And sugar on grapefruit and grapefruit spoons. These were the days of walking to school.

Pieces of me come from watching the man step on the moon. They would have to. I picked up the times in which I was born and raised. Before the sleep-over, piles of giggly girls watching a giant leap for mankind, was it black and white, I stood in puddles of grief. In front of the screen, I know was white and black and a president was buried in plain view on that screen. Camelot, I may not have understood then. I do now. I picked up parts of the me I am from the life and death of then. Of a television showing Vietnam war footage while we tried to swallow our food. War and dinner. For a time. I know it was in color then, the camo and blood.

Later I would gather up the sweet smell of gardenias in June, skinned knees year round, stubbed toes worn as battle scars from play and Sunday’s at The Country Club after church. We sat in the same pew year after year. Politics in the family DNA. There were more than a few eyes on us. Always. They are a box of Crayola’s coloring in the lines of me. These memories. The roses that didn’t quite bloom. Seeing shadows through a louvered bedroom door. And riding horses, the real ones and the pretend.

I will walk my dogs in my new old village home. Where I will pick up memories of me. I am made from scraps of quiet. Pieces of simple. And yards of complex. Reams of contradictions too.  The scent of Noxema and lemon squares. The days of telephones, two lines and election night and slogans for a father’s campaign. A Southern Democrat. Aiming for Congress.

Pieces of me come from 1959. They would have to. I am gathering memories that make me me.  And recalling what came before and after, the days the milkman came. The days when a side porch held so much abundance and hope. The white liquid for dipping Oreo cookies. I didn’t. My father did. My father, a tickle machine. Raucous play and laughter. And multiple Christmas trees. My mother, silver and linens and elbows off the table Mabels. And Tab.  And I am just getting started.

Fifty-five years of shading in the details of me. The days before the poetry. My life could be labeled before poetry and after poetry. But I would rather think about the milkman.

Taming The Dragons And Other WIld Things Under The Moon

hb spencer saveWhen we were young
We bathed in Milne

Bears and  a boy washed away a day.

And when we were young
We sat folded up in cramped desks,
Modern twist on utilitarian form
Pretzel legged
Puzzled by
Poetry in chalky white on a plain black board

And studied Ogden,
silly was in vogue.
The sixties begged for humor, cried even
Laugh In
Rowen and Martin and very short poems
A bear and a boy and silly
grown men

Can take the edge off of a war
And your mind off of
Politicians who die too young.

Pooh slayed his dragons.
There is strength in numbers
Now as then, a friend can help
You fight the foe
together

However wild
However scary

When you cross the river
And you are two

You too may declare
“Shoo! Silly old dragons”

Because you are two, arm in arm
Bear and boy, Christopher and Pooh
Dragons go up in a puff of smoke
And disappear
Into thin air

“It isn’t much fun for One, but Two.”
When slaying demons and dragons
Strength in numbers was never more true

And wild things that go bump
in the night
are easier to fight, as two.
So after you tell the moon,
“good night”
Tuck in your dragon, nice and tight.

Check under the bed, pray and search the room.
Now you are free

To dream by the light of the moon, the moon, the moon.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

joining tweetspeak poetry for their poetry prompt this week, Dragons etc. Click here to discovery more poetry from my friends at Tweetspeak.

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