The Reading Mother

Strickland Gillilan, 1869-1954, was an American poet and humorist, and this is the verse he’s most famous for:

The Reading Mother

I had a Mother who read to me
sagas of pirates who scoured the sea,
cutlasses clenched in their yellow teeth,
“blackbirds” stowed in the hold beneath.

I had a Mother who read me lays
of ancient and gallant and golden days;
stories of Marmion and Ivanhoe,
which every boy has a eight to know.

I had a Mother who read me tales
of Gêlert the hound of the hills of Wales,
true to his trust till his tragic death,
faithfulness blent with his final breath.

I had a Mother who read me the things
that wholesome life to the boy heart brings —
stories that stir with an upward touch.
Oh, that each mother of boys were such!

You may have tangible wealth untold;
caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be —
I had a Mother who read to me.

My contribution today to National Poetry Month is taken from The Best Loved Poems of the American People. © 1936 by Doubleday & Company, New York.

I found this book at a second-hand book sale this afternoon. Almost 650 pages for $1 — quite a bargain!

Little Brown Birdies #2

As you may have guessed, I was going to post Edna Jacques’ poem about the birds that came to her yard in spring. I decided not to for fear of the Copyright Infringement Police, but I forgot to remove the title. My apologies for the confusion!

However, I’ll give you another poem about little birds. This one by Canadian poet Archibald Lampman is a bit more complex, but just as good, I think.

March

Over the dripping roofs and sunk snow-barrows,
The bells are ringing loud and strangely near,
The shout of children dins upon mine ear
Shrilly, and like a flight of silvery arrows
Showers the sweet gossip of the British sparrows,
Gathered in noisy knots of one or two,
To joke and chatter just as mortals do
Over the days long tale of joys and sorrows;

Talk before bed-time of bold deeds together,
Of thefts and fights, of hard-times and the weather,
Till sleep disarm them, to each little brain
Bringing tucked wings and many a blissful dream,
Visions of wind and sun, of field and stream,
And busy barn-yards with their scattered grain.

By Archibald Lampman

Little Brown Beggars

For my contribution to National Poetry Month today, I’m going to write about a famous western Canadian poetess, Edna Jacques. (Pronounced Jakes) She was our Edgar Guest, a poet who wrote about home, often her prairie home during the Depression years. Altogether she wrote some 3,000 poems and published about half a dozen books of her verses, most of them available, as used copies, on Amazon.

Edna Jacques was born in Collingwood, Ontario in 1891 and moved with her family to a homestead SE of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan when she was eleven. She married Ernest Jamieson at age 20 and they had one daughter. If I recall correctly, he later had mental health problems, so Edna did not have an easy life — still she wrote cheerful verses about nature, the seasons and domestic life in general. Altogether she wrote some 3,000 poems and published about half a dozen books of her verses.

You can find a few online and I’d like to post one of her verses here, but she only died in Sept 1978. Which means that technically they are still under copyright and I don’t want legal problems. 🙂

Not Just My Verse, Yours Too

Bucket (List) of Verses

Rory at A Guy Called Bloke started this fun challenge in poem form and Dale passed the challenge on to me.

Rory’s Instructions:
I will choose a topic, write four lines of Rhyming Verse then l will tag one of my readers who will in turn add four lines of Rhyming Verse to my mine and Tag one of their own readers. Then it is a case of wash rinse repeat and let’s see how far our topic goes in so far as a Rhyme?…

The Perfectly Crazy Bucket List!

Rory Starts us off:

So, so much to do, and with so little time,
I want to do everything, nothing to be missed,
But how do I plan it all, how do I define,
The perfectly crazy bucket list?

Paula adds:
First up is a lush tropical jungle,
Jaguars and waterfalls… all quite insane;
I do hope my parachute isn’t all bungled,
When I jump from the doorway of this airplane!

Fandango Continues:
I want to take a rocket into space,
Or maybe a submarine ride deep in the sea.
I sure hope they will save me a place,
Because that’s where I really want to be!

Cheryl Contributes:
A trip to the mountains is what l’d choose,
I’ll make sure to wear climbing shoes,
Rocks are high and edges slippery,
Wouldn’t want to fall off the perifery,

Kristian’s Contribution:
I’d like see the world, visit the sands of Abu Dhabi
take a cruise down the Golden Gate Bridge in my Maserati
head to New England and catch a game at old Fenway Park,
then board a ship to Costa Rica where I can swim with a shark.

Nova’s Addition
I’d travel to the desert in Egypt
And photograph the pyramids
Then board the Ciaro railway,
To the Chocolateria in Madrid.

Ritu’s Addition
Swimming with dolphins in the ocean deep
A worldwide cruise, though it won’t be cheap
I want to write a novel, and hope it’s a best seller
To see my book upon a shelf, wouldn’t that be stellar?

Willow’s Addition
I’d love to ride a zipwire high up in the trees
And to do so fearlessly as often as I please.
A Starfighter pilot I’d dearly love to be
I smash the evil aliens and set the good world’s free.

Dale’s Two Cents’

For the longest time I have dreamt of Tuscany
Not merely to visit, but to eat, live, and dine
Vacation in ’16, felt like my destiny
I’m ever so convinced, I will fit in just fine

Christine offers her wishes:
Gallowayshire, the ancestral home,
the trip of my dreams with enough £s to roam;
to meet with some long-losts in Wigtown for tea
to stroll through the heather; gaze out o’er the sea.

And now I challenge Dorinda D to add a verse to this melee.

Fire in the Wind

Hello everyone,

I read an interesting tidbit the other day from one of these life-coach-advisor types: If you have goals in life you really want to accomplish, or if you feel like your time management ability leaves something to be desired, leave the internet alone for the first three hours of each day. This includes cell phone calls and messages.

He claims most people who’ve achieved success in life don’t start their days online. They rather spend those first prime hours reading, meditating, focusing on goals and planning their day. Conversely, people who start their day hopping and skipping around the internet, reading e-mails, and leaving short comments or messages, tend to carry on through the day with the same lack of focus and end up not getting much done and feeling very unsatisfied.

I’ve decided to follow his advice and see how it works, as I’ve been very frustrated at my tendency to be distracted, or lack of self-discipline. So I tried it this morning: I left the computer alone and read some devotional thoughts about Easter — then focused on some needed housework.

The upside: I feel like I accomplished something today. 🙂
The downside: Morning is my prime writing time. If I got busy with other things, I don’t get to my computer until the evening. (Mind you, it dosn’t help that I have a jigsaw puzzle on the go right now. 😉 )

Now, on to the Fire Wind:

Today was warm and the wind gusting high at times — and it’s been extremely dry here this spring. I was outside for a few minutes around 5 pm and thought: a bad day for a fire. As I’ve mentioned, over the last couple of weeks I’ve been trying to burn our “trash pile” of dead and/or pruned branches. I had a little fire last Thursday, but then the municipal Fire Ban went into effect and we can’t burn ANYTHING now. Small wonder, though: last week Saturday our volunteer firemen were called out to three big fires in this area, and we heard there was a bad one near Saskatoon last Saturday.

I came in from outside and puttered around a few minutes, then opened the west side window, since it was so warm — and I got a strong whiff of smoke. Looked out and saw smoke billowing into the sky;  it seemed to come from the farm across the field about a mile south of us. We decided to drive out and see what was happening — after all, the wind was blowing the smoke in our direction and that does make one nervous!  When we reached the road our farmer-neighbour went by in his tractor and headed across the field toward the fire.

We heard later that our son-in-law, on his way home from work, spotted the flames and called in the alarm, then went back to fight the fire. Volunteer firemen arrived and then the firetrucks, and we saw our neighbour going back and forth across the field next to that farm, plowing a fireguard to keep the fire from spreading this way in the high wind.

It burned for at least an hour and now, several hours later, there are still flashing lights at that farm. The fire was burning in their trees, so I imagine some firemen are watching to see it doesn’t flare up again.

I haven’t posted anything in honor of National Poetry Month for a few days, but thinking of fire makes me think of Aussie poet Frank Prem’s book DEVIL IN THE WIND, about the devastating bush fires he witnessed in 2009. This promises to be a fascinating account in poem form! It’s for sale now on Amazon. Here’s the dazzling cover — and the link (Amazon .com)

Devil In The Wind: Voices from the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires (Poetry Anthology Book 2) by [Prem, Frank]