poetry while in the skin


dscf0009We’re in Fort Smith today, and everything outside is acting like Spring. You think I’m moody? Well, take a look at Arkansas. One day we have icicle daggers being thrown at our heads, and the next day bluebirds are landing on our shoulders.

Earlier I was visiting with Seth’s amazing 88 year old grandma, and she talked about how much she would read to her children and how when they were small, they would listen to her for hours. I fingered through a stack of books she brought to read to the boys. She smiled as I lifted one book, obviously well-used with dated orange, blue, and black illustrations.

She lives in a retirement village and in her alone time there has gone back through the entire book with small scratches of paper to mark all the stories and poems she remembers reading to her own three boys. I stopped at a poem called, “My Shadow” by Robert Louis Stevenson and asked if she remembered it.

Word for word she quoted:

I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me,

And what can be the use of him is more than I can see […]

On and on she went, and I realized how much precious time she had spent to recite a random poem in a book that she hadn’t read aloud in over 50 years. I realized how powerful can be a rhyme and how it has endured past the life of her first-born.

It makes me want to flip the breaker, light a lamp, and read until I’ve carved a river of memory, full of words and rhythm, something to hold on to, like a good hymn, when the tangibles in this skin-and-bones life start to drift away.

amberhaines
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5 Comments

the domestic fringe
Reply January 31, 2009

Your children are fortunate to have their great grandma around to read them. That's really special. My grandparents both passed away this year and I'm glad my kids got to know them. Enjoy her.
-FringeGirl

the domestic fringe’s last blog post..Reliving My Childhood

nic
Reply January 31, 2009

That's amazing! I want to be like that, too.

Look at baby Ian! How sweet and tiny.

nic’s last blog post..Monday: All Over the Place But With Exciting News

Steffj89
Reply February 1, 2009

That is awesome. Isn't it great when our children are allowed the joy of knowing someone from their family history in such a way. My kids are 5, 4, and 6 weeks tomorrow. Their favorite place in the world is at "baby Grandma's" Her house was always my favorite place in the world as well. Grandma is from another era and another world. She too lives in Ft Smith, and is now 91 years old. I am so thankful for the moments to treasure of watching her with my little boys. Thanks for reminding me I need to call her today.

Steffj89’s last blog post..This Just In....News and Views

Heather of the EO
Reply February 2, 2009

What an amazing lady, a beautiful example. I want to have some words carved out in me too, the kind worth having and becoming. Another great post from you, lady :)

Heather of the EO’s last blog post..Good Grief

chickadee
Reply February 10, 2009

you are so right about the arkansas weather. we may be looking at tornados tonight and some people still don't have power from the ice storm.

chickadee’s last blog post..Love

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