The Sea Star’s Lament

Oh! To be a jellyfish within the deep blue sea.
To dance upon loose currents in that wet viscosity,
Where the great swell pulls around you
breathing out to sea and in
Fluidity without and liquidity within.

Oh! To be a jellyfish down in the ocean deep
To glide in inky blackness and the currents hurried sweep
Where you dance upon the motion
gently flexing tight then loose
attachment to the planet surrounding and diffuse.

Oh! To be a jellyfish and float on endless wave
The dream of open water that I cannot seem to brave
And though I lift my many toes
to feel it rush between
They cling to stone in spite of me and leave it all unseen.

But, oh!, to be a jellyfish!

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Two Brave Wolves

“Tell me a story about night!” She demands, as we drive away from the doctor’s office.

My mind is buzzing with words like adenoids, tonsils, and the looming specter of possible surgery and its attendent risks and benefits. I don’t know any stories about night.  I struggle to turn off my thoughts and worries and be creative for her. Knowing that she’s been listening to the doctor too. And she, too, is anxious.

“Mommy?” She asks when I wait just a little to long.

I relax my thoughts and voice and begin.

“Once, long ago, when the earth was new and the rules were a little different than they are today, there were two young wolves.

And they argued over who was braver. One wolf said that she was so brave that he would stand on the top of the tallest mountain. And they raced each other to the top.

The other wolf said that she was so brave that she would swim the widest river. And they race each other across.

Finally as the light began to grow long and the night drew nearer, one said to the other, “I am so brave that I will sleep out in the meadow away from our cave and mother.” Ah, thought the second wolf. That is very brave. “I will, too.” She said.

So, they laid in the grassy meadow as the light grew long and the frogs and crickets grew loud. And the night noises surround them and the night smells filled their noses. And it grew darker. And darker.

The two wolves huddled close together. They couldn’t see. It was too dark.

They could hear things, but they sounded very different from daytime noises.

The smells that filled their noses were very strange. The missed the smell of their mothers warm fur and the sweet scent of their own warm den.

And they grew very afraid. They shook against each other. And when they heard a small noise at once they both began to cry.

They raised their noses in the air and howled. AAarROOOO. Arr-ar-ar-OOOOO! Ar-arRoooo!

The night grew very noisy around them. Finally Sister Moon came to see what was making all the noise. As she looked down on the scared, brave young wolves she smiled. “Silly wolves,” she chided,  “You do not have to be afraid of the dark. I will always come to show you the night.”

They looked around and saw that the field that they had laid down in the light was just the same in the dark. There was nothing to fear. They both howled again, but this time with joy. Aar-Rooo!

And even now, when you find yourself afraid of the dark, you just have to wait and the Moon will come to show you the night. And even now, when the moon rises in the wild places you can hear the wolves call to her. “

From the back seat she howls, “Aar-Rooo!”

I smile over my shoulder at her. My fear is washed away by the knowledge that sometimes things are just the same as they always were.

Parenting

It’s a balancing act, performed on one foot,
a thousand feet in the air
on a tight rope

We each carry a stack of plates
and we try to pass them back and forth
hopes, dreams, fears, needs

And then we added her

She enters the act with her own plates
that she throws to us
as she bounces across our rope

We frantically try to catch her,
her plates, a few of our plates spin
wildly.

Some fall.

And we all wobble
But we find our balance
A new balance

One that leaves me clinging
desparately holding to the rope
with my toes

With plates balanced on my nose
as I hold my arms to either side,
a wishful frame of safety around her

And he is wild-eyed
holding more plates
his, hers, and mine

But the music starts

And we smile
and begin to dance

because in the end,
you can dance,

or fall

A little lost

If you find this you might figure that I got a little lost.
Between the scientist and poet there’s really not a lot
that should put me in the focus of a lens that seems to think
that the coolest thing about me is the coffee that I drink

I’m writing you this letter so that maybe you can know
that I really do much better when I’ve got something to show,
and the truth is that I’ve really spent too much time in these four walls
and I’m playing tiny dinosaurs and watching evening fall

and I’m waiting for the hours that come after bath and bed
when I get to be a person and I’m not stuck in my head,
ever wishing, ever dreaming of the girl I was back when,
when my own needs were all I had to worry over. Then

I recall the purpose and the love and all the joy
that come from playing dinosaurs and dress up and with toys.
And it’s plain to me that, while I might have got little lost, that
views are quite spectacular when I take the time to look
and I ought really ought to go ‘fore I write a frickin’ book.

Developmentally Appropriate

So, some Fridays we go to the Library for their toddler story-time. I want to take her every Friday, but I find that this particular story time is not really geared for my particular child.

It seems to work well for a lot of the other kids. The quiet kids. The couldn’t-talk-to-a stranger-if-their-life-depended-on-it kids. The sit-down-and-focus kids. The older kids.

That is not my kid.

My kid is the one who, after I tried to explain the concept of strangers, introduced herself to everyone in the room. Then tried to climb into one bewildered father’s lap.  I called her name, shook my head, and she stopped, but still…

My kid is the one who during songs, turns and faces everyone so that she has an audience instead of being part of the group.

My kid is the one who likes the books so much that she can’t sit during the stories because then she can’t see the words and pictures when you move the book.

My kid doesn’t do transitions that well, so when the librarian switches between story and song six times in less than an hour, she loses her stuff.

My kid does not have ADD, ADHD, or ASD, though I have been asked by others if she does. What she has is energy. She has personality. She has a unique temperament. She has a developmental level that is not ready for a lot of organized sit down time.

She will do fine in school. Because we will send her when it is developmentally appropriate.  All the playing, and running, and not sitting with her hands in her lap is all completely normal. It’s developmentally appropriate. There is a reason we don’t send kids to school at three!

Developmentally, she’s right on track. She’s also very bright, curious, and enormously social. She is less interested in the under-her-level stories and more interested in all the fascinating people. She doesn’t have the control yet to focus for long on the things that don’t interest her.

It’s okay. I’m not worried. I just don’t go every week, because it’s a lot of work and it’s not really where she’s at yet. We read for probably an hour every day at home though, so I think we’re good.

 

If only I were

It needs some editing work. I’m not quite satisfied with the meter of it yet, but the theme is good.

Friendly Fara Froggy oggles her reflection,
feels lonesome, mourns that she’s not sleek
like Slender Sue.
“If I was long and graceful,
still and thoughtful,
then perhaps there would be some hope
that I could someday be a beauty, too.”

Slender Sue is coiled tightly,
under fronds that hide her body,
she feels so unsightly,
dreams she could laugh like Leopard Lil.
“If my voice were full and throaty,
deep vibrato, then just maybe
I would find a way to somehow speak my fill.”

Leopard Lil, she lounges, listless,
feeling lonely, and she wishes
she could play without a care like Fara Frog
“My voice is much too scary,
and I know that when they hear me,
everyone will run and hide ‘neath tree and log.”

So remember when you’re voiceless,
all alone, or just unsightly,
that everyone has sometimes been right there.
Wishing that they could be somebody,
someone pretty, someone funny.
More than often, wishing they were just like you.

Gray Goose is Blue.

“I’m blue.” Goose said, as he climbed out of bed.
Of course, he wasn’t. He was gray, like the day.
He was only blue on the inside of his head,
but some days, that’s enough.

He pulled on a robe and tied the sash tight.
For breakfast, in the fridge, there was only a smidge
of milk left. He would have to go out, despite
his mood which was foul.

“Oh, yuck!” He exclaimed, as the rain began to pour.
He hunched his head and would have run, not for fun,
but for cover, but he needed to get to the store.
Milk is important.

With his head hunched down, Goose couldn’t see a thing
so he walked right into Dog, and got him sog-
-gy, which just figured.  It was the kind of day that can bring
out the bad sort of luck.

“My! You’re all wet!” Dog observed of Goose,
rather obviously Goose thought. But, Dog, a swell fella, held his umbrella
over Goose while they walked.  Watching his chum, Dog began to deduce
the sort of day Goose was having.

They walked to the store and turned to head back
before Goose thought to ask why Dog had been out in the wet. “Don’t fret,”
said Dog, “but I haven’t had breakfast. I found that I lack-
-ed the necessary ingredients.

Goose felt rather bad. Here he had been feeling sorry and blue,
and Dog had been with him in the cold, but Dog, good as gold,
hadn’t complained. “Come on in,” said Goose, “I have enough for two,
and, I’d love to have the company.”

And, of course, Dog accepted, he was hungry, and understood
that when you’re blue in the head it’s better to be with a friend, who’ll lend
you a smile when you’re out of your own.  Besides he would
rather stay, as he’d woken up feeling rather blue himself.

My friend, Chris, suggested that I should write and illustrate children’s books. I think I’ll see if I can put together some illustrations for this. I wrote it over the course of about an hour after I put Fiona to bed. Constructive criticism welcomed!