As I return to "real" life after a long and fantastic trip to the France and Italy of our extended family, I'm grateful to Mary Lee for wisely reminding me that control is my favorite illusion:
It's the same feeling you get
just after you've nudged the sled
over the shoulder
of the hill.
Movement becomes momentum
and quickly shifts
to catapulting and careening.
You relinquish control
and hold on
for the ride.
©Mary Lee Hahn, 2013
I'm also grateful to my father for sending me this poem that he found in the pages of the always stimulating Christian Century magazine. It reminds me that it's not about the weight of the papers and planning and posters and pencils; the joy in this ride comes from the small mammals strapped in next to you on the roller coaster.
If I become like you I will write about a roughed grouse,
Says the boy, five years old, with a face like a chipmunk
Storing up winter browse. We are at his school, where he
And the other small mammals have written things for me
On bright scraps of paper. He hands me his paper and I’ll
Carry it in my wallet the rest of my life. Mister Brian, the
Sun is raining all around, another child says to me. It is up
And down sun, she says. I want to be a cookie when I’m
Your age, says another child. Once we were all monkeys
In skirts made from the skins of trees, says a boy with an
Icicle tattoo. It’s templorary, he says, explaining it to me.
I laugh and he laughs and every kid there starts laughing.
I think I am going to fly up gently into the air over a tree
From joy, as saints used to float when gripped by ecstasy.
That happened to Saint Joseph Cupertino, you remember,
Seventy times, it is said, and now I know why: no gravity.
I hope to make this the last poem written for adults for a good while and challenge myself to do that thing I like best, which is write for kids. I thank Margaret over at the round-up at Reflections on the Teche for reminding me what a supportive community this is; I think I'm going to need it.
For now, I will lower my expectations a bit. The title is for the grown-ups, but the poem works for little ones.
On Rearranging the Classroom, Again
It really matters where you sit,
whichever way you look at it.
Choose the middle of the middle;
that way you see it all a little.
Heidi Mordhorst 2013
And here's a photo I came across that I just need to share...