Friday, September 26, 2003

Learned from a caring friend ...

that the little poem was not written by James Whitcomb Riley nor Eugene Field, but by England's Edward Lear! And it was available here online all the while -- waiting to be rediscovered. Just visited the website and felt a rush of pleasure as my mind leapt ahead of my eyes -- line by line -- through the poem -- all the way to

"...and they danced to the light of the moon, the moon,
they danced to the light of the moon!

(Thank you, Anne,)


The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
    In a beautiful pea green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
    Wrapped up in a five pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
    And sang to a small guitar,
'O lovely Pussy! O Pussy my love,
      What a beautiful Pussy you are,
          You are,
          You are!
What a beautiful Pussy you are!'

Pussy said to the Owl, 'You elegant fowl!
    How charmingly sweet you sing!
O let us be married! too long we have tarried:
    But what shall we do for a ring?'
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
    To the land where the Bong-tree grows
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
    With a ring at the end of his nose,
          His nose,
          His nose,
With a ring at the end of his nose.

'Dear pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
    Your ring?' Said the Piggy, 'I will.'
So they took it away, and were married next day
    By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
    Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
    They danced by the light of the moon,
          The moon,
          The moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.

It all came back in a rush. What a lovely piece it is, and so worth remembering. Will read it to Alayana and Tamaya the very next time they're with me.

I'm wondering now if Shel Silverstein wasn't my contemporary Edward Lear? I so love children's literature, even now. Spend many a Saturday morning listening to NPR -- hoping that Scott Simon and Daniel Pinkwater will do one of their marvelous readings from some wildly imaginative children's book.

Which brings up a truth I discovered some years ago -- someday I'll share those thoughts more fully, but for now ...

I've found that one of the magical features of aging is that all of the Bettys who ever were are alive in me still. Depending upon the circumstances or the need -- one of me emerges fully formed. Apparently, 9 year-old Betty popped up to place herself between me and the freshening pain of Rick's loss. Fascinating, isn't it? Am I alone in this? And I don't mean to infer that this is in any way pathological. I am not schizophrenic, only complex, I believe. But complex in a way that is probably universal.

It's late and I'm feeling well-used and deservedly tired.