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Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday - Rhymes with BirthDAY: Wilder's FEY and Louisa May....

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

Grateful to celebrate another trip around the sun over here. 

 

Some literary surprises have helped!  My sister Sharon sent the perfect birthday gift - a copy of Laura Ingalls Wilder's Fairy Poems, compiled by Stephen W. Hines with oh-so-charming illustrations by Richard Hull.  It was published by Doubleday in 1998.

 

How did this little gem of a volume miss our bookshelves when it originally came out?  Morgan loved Little House on the Prairie so much that for two separate Halloweens I was up late stitching prairie dresses, bonnets, aprons....  We read the books and she fell in love with the TV series, too, which I probably still have on VHS tapes around here somewhere.  (She shares this love with her Poppy, her Florida grandfather.  He and my mother probably still have those VHS tapes, too. Some of you might be reading this and wondering, What is a VHS tape?  Don't judge.)

 

Anyway, I'm delighted to have the poems!  Morgan does remember having some little plastic figure fairies that you tossed into the air, and they would flutter wings and spin around... Sky Dancers!  (Anyone remember those?)  She said it hurt when you tried to catch them....

 

Here is a poem from the book describing a particular challenge faced by the fairy Drop O' Dew, as she tries to tend some rather rebellious flowers:

 

Naughty Four O'Clocks

 

 

There were some naughty flowers once,

Who were careless in their play;

They got their petals torn and soiled

As they swung in the dust all day.

 

Then went to bed at four o'clock,

With faces covered tight,

To keep the fairy Drop O' Dew

From washing them at night.  

 

Poor Drop O' Dew!  What could she do?

She said to the Fairy Queen,

"I cannot get those Four O'Clocks

To keep their faces clean."

 

The mighty Storm King heard the tale;

"My winds and rain," roared he,

"Shall wash those naughty flowers well,

As flowers all should be."

 

So raindrops came and caught them all

Before they went to bed,

And washed those little Four O'Clocks

At three o'clock instead.

 

April 1915

 

 

(For a wee bit more on my blog re. fairies, here's a link to a poem by Yeats  and here's a picture of a fairy tree we saw in Ireland summer before last.)

 

Another welcome gift came my way among a few from my hubby Jeff, over birthday cake Thursday night - a TIME magazine/book about Little Women. Have you seen the new movie?  Morgan and I saw it over Christmas break during our Georgia traveling, and we loved it.  Hear, hear for the Oscar nominations.

 

I recently discovered some vintage US postage stamps featuring Louisa May Alcott from the 1940 Famous Americans series.  They have found their way into bookmarks, magnets, and earrings in my Etsy shop.... :0) Go, Louisa May!

 

Finally -- my mother, Nita, and the aforementioned Poppy (Jack) like to spice up birthday cards with original poems now and then.  I'm not sure what overcame them this year, but there was a rather long offering with a rather redneck-y voice to brighten my day.  Well, here is just a short sampling:

 

You see this poem ain't got no rhythm or meter

it just buzzes around like a Florida skeeter.

 

What can I say?  (Really - um, what does one say??!) 

 

Speaking of literary birthday surprises and Florida skeeters, I also received a hefty book from my brother.  Mike and Scott sent a memories-and-smiles-evoking gem called Florida Roadside Attractions History - The Complete Guide to Florida Tourist Attractions Before Disney by Ken Breslauer.  Yes, I will have to share it with you at some point!  The pictures alone are fantastic.  Pirates, giant gators, mermaids - you get the idea.  If mermaids exist, then surely fairies do, too!

 

For less rambling and more coherent poetry-rich blog posts today, visit the always enchanting Jone at DeoWriter for this week's Roundup. (Pssst... she has a giveaway perfect for kindling your imagination in this new year!)

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Poetry Friday - May Flowers with Louisa May Alcott

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

April showers bring.... :0)

 

     To me the meanest flower that blows can give 

     Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.

 

     Wordsworth (1770–1850), Intimations Ode. 

 

[By the way, in case you weren't a nerdy English major like yours truly, "meanest" here means most plain/humble, and "blows" means bloom.]

 

The daisies my hubby planted are bright-faced and happy this week!  I've always loved daisies, probably because my mother does, and I carried them in my wedding.  They're not too fancy, but they hold their own.

 

Did you know Louisa May Alcott's first published book was not about the women in her family, but about flowers and fairies?

 

Flower Fables was published in 1855, a collection written for Ellen Emerson (daughter of Ralph Waldo). These are little morality tales with fancy and poetry mixed in.  Here's a link to the whole work on Project Gutenburg. And here are the opening lines from "Clover-Blossom," which is a few hundred miles long but which might bring to mind The Good Samaritan, The Ugly Duckling, and other cultural/literary references which we can still use healthy doses of!

 

 

Clover-Blossom

 

IN a quiet, pleasant meadow,
Beneath a summer sky,
Where green old trees their branches waved,
And winds went singing by;
Where a little brook went rippling
So musically low,
And passing clouds cast shadows
On the waving grass below;
Where low, sweet notes of brooding birds
Stole out on the fragrant air,
And golden sunlight shone undimmed
On all most fresh and fair;—
There bloomed a lovely sisterhood
Of happy little flowers,
Together in this pleasant home,
Through quiet summer hours.
No rude hand came to gather them,
No chilling winds to blight;
Warm sunbeams smiled on them by day,
And soft dews fell at night.
So here, along the brook-side,
Beneath the green old trees,
The flowers dwelt among their friends,
The sunbeams and the breeze.

 

 ....

 

Yes, the bucolic tranquility gives way to conflict, as you'll see if you click here for the whole poem.  You will likely guess the ending, but you might enjoy anyway!

 

For all kinds of poetry flowery and otherwise, flit on over to our lovely Jama's Alphabet Soup, where Jama and Company have loads of flowers for May Day along with the Roundup!

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