Saturday, February 23, 2008

My 10

[Back on February 10 I was tagged by ...deb to write a poem that describes myself in 10 stanzas. It took me a while but here it is. ]

Me in Ten

I was Daddy's little pink princess,
dressed perfectly in ruffled lace,
held by my daughterless uncle in a toy store
where passers-by mistook me for a doll
until I moved.

I am a fire sign who has always loved being in water,
even when my lips turned blue
from the cold Cape Cod Atlantic,
and even when I was afraid
to jump off the public pool diving board.
I taught my best friend to swim before we were 10.
At 17 I renewed my Red Cross lifeguard training
while I still had mono:
swim lap, cough-cough-cough, repeat, repeat, repeat.

The first thing I remember cooking is scrambled eggs,
stirring them from the top of a tall stool
because I was not tall enough to see the top of the stove.
I used to wear my father's mother's apron,
a connection to a woman I think I would have liked.

Not even the dictionary at the public library
looked as roughly-used as the one we had at home.
My dad told me to "look it up"
more times than I can count.
The heavy book was good for pressing
lucky four leaf clovers between its pages.

I dug in loose dirt in the park with sticks.
I dug in Daddy's garden with a shovel and hoe.
At breakfast every morning I heard the farm report on the radio.
I have never adjusted to the New England growing season,
but I notice when we are overdue for rain.

I learned about myself by how I was different from Mom,
yet I have so many of her mannerisms!
We both finally left that small town.

Books and music
have always filled my world:
Doctor Seuss and nursery rhymes,
Encyclopedia Brown and Danny Dunn,
Nancy Drew and Isaac Asimov,
Robert Heinlein and Joanna Russ,
Katherine V. Forrest and Douglas Adams,
My Fair Lady and Sound of Music,
Fiddler on the Roof and Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass,
The Partridge Family and Billy Joel,
The Sensual Sounds of the Soulful Oboe,
Meg Christian and Cris Williamson,
folk songs, campfire songs, patriotic songs,
choral singing in SSAA, SATB, SSAA, and SATB again

I love to watch flickering flames
licking logs in the grate
hissing and spitting as they
turn wood into heat, smoke and ashes.
My front toasts as my back freezes,
then I turn and let my face cool down
as I try not to set my back on fire.

I have been part of a couple for more than half my life.
We celebrated 25 years together this month.
It was 21 years before we were allowed to be married,
and the IRS still makes me say I'm single.

I get my stubborn from both parents -
a double-dipping.
(My poor wife!)

[I'm not up to coming up with people to tag for this, but if it strikes your fancy, please give it a try and let me know you did it.]


Linda said...

I love all the things you SHOW in this! Wonderful poetry!

I was tagged by Deb, too, and am still working on mine. Vacation this week, so maybe I'll have time to get it done.

paisley said...

OMG... encyclopedia brown... oh how i loved to be the one that figured it out... that was a wonderful memory......

sister AE said...

Thanks, Linda. I was wondering if your school had vacation this week. Have a great time!

Hi, Paisley. I loved them too - I still remember how he knew another kid was lying because he knew that squirrels never back down trees, they always go head first!