Day 23,688: The Elf Man and Me
I write bad poetry. Usually once a week or so. I inherited the gene from my mother who wrote celebration poetry in honor of most family events and milestones. If you had a baby, she wrote a poem. If you celebrated a big anniversary, she wrote a poem. If she had to give a speech at a family event, it was presented in a poem. They were each extremely personal, suited to the event and cherished by all.
Those aren’t my poems. Like hers, mine are simple rhymes – no serious free verse, iambic pentameter, or philosophical perspectives on Mother Nature circa Mary Oliver. Mine are more like affirmations, or good thoughts and prayers put to rhyme and said for my own purpose to put positive energy out in the universe for the benefit of those most close to me.
I don’t love poetry. I don’t collect tomes of poems. I do appreciate poems when discovered, and have always found them to be positive forces. I grew up on Robert Frost, e.e. cummings and Dr. Seuss. Poems, in my experience, were read at inaugurations, graduations, but mostly as part of bedtime stories and always for happiness, never sorrow.
The poetry of my childhood was soothing, joyful, inspiring. My favorite throughout childhood was easily memorized and recited on demand whenever anyone asked me why I was short. Written by John Kendrick Bangs in 1865, and purposely rediscovered by me years later through the miracle of Google search, I’m sharing it here:
The Little Elf
I met a little Elf man once
Down where the lilies blow.
I asked him why he was so small,
And why he didn’t grow.
He slightly frowned and with his eye
He looked me through and through.
“I’m quite as big for me,” said he,
“As you are big for you.”
If people in my later years wondered where I got my sideways glare of disbelief in the face of stupid questions, I attribute it to this poem.
This week it was disconcerting to hear our current president use a song lyric entitled The Snake as a poem to create fear. The songwriter’s daughters have come out to defend their father’s lyrics based on one of Aesop’s Fables, another staple of my youth. For more Oscar Brown, Jr lyrics check this article. Either way and politics aside, it is a sad day for poetry and, tonight, in protest, I will console myself with some Dr. Seuss before bed.
Staying Focused on Gun Sanity: Considering borrowing or buying the book The Second Amendment: A Biography by Michael Waldman. He’s the president of the Brennan Center for Justice at the NYU Law School, and he traces how the amendment has always been a balance between public safety and individual freedoms, with neither being more important than the other.