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Three score and ten or more

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Well, for two days we have been packing, sorting, junking, preserving. Saturday, with all the stuff to dispose of, we went off yard saleing and actually bought stuff, an entertainment center for the new house so the TV won't always be the center of attention and a computer armoire because we have more computers than desks.

I don't think that there are many things sadder than packing books in boxes. I'm afraid that I am a book-nut. I have already given away more than two thousand books and the shelves just stayed full. Now the shelves are emptying and many of the books are in boxes. Some, to give away at church, some to foist on former colleagues, some for yard or moving sales, and some to keep.

I found a slowly disintegrating script of Hamlet that is over a hundred years old, a book of poetry that was signed as a wedding gift in 1887, a set of Hardy Boy books that must be near the first editions. There are Encyclopedias almost a hundred years old and I picked up a children's book or two: A book of poetry for children written by Emily Dickinson and a book of children's poems by Judith Viorst that was printed in 1995 entitled Sad Underwear that is so delightful that I read it twice last night, and found myself reading some parts out loud as personal bedtime stories. One of the poems seemed in my mind to relate to some of the political and argumentative discussions (if that's the word) in many of our blogs (or not? Maybe it is just me?) that I am going to risk copyright violation (we'll call it fair use, thank you Ms. Viorst) and put it in the blog. The title is:


My father, the miller had lied to the king

He had said I spun straw into gold.

And although I knew not how to do such a thing,

I was locked in the lie he had told.

I was locked in a room with a spinning wheel,

And some straw, and this terrible lie.

And told if I failed to spin straw into gold I would die.

Remember this story? A dwarf cuts a deal:

In exchange for my necklace, my ring,

And my future first baby, he'll sit by the wheel

Spinning straw into gold for the king.

It's not fair to blame me---I wanted to live.

So I did just what you would have done.

I was saved. I was queen. Then the dwarf returned for my son.

You must keep your promises, people will say.

But I had little honor or shame.

For I could not--would not--give my baby away.

And with three days to guess the dwarf's name,

I (cheating a little) discovered his name.

When I spoke it, the creature went wild.

I cared not a fig. I had won. I could keep my first child.

The miller's young daughter is now an old queen,

And I do not sleep well at my age.

There are nights when I dwell on that long-ago scene

Of the dwarf, torn apart by his rage.

Yet when I recall how, afraid and alone,

I was saved by the gold he could spin,

I wonder what I might have done to save Rumplestiltskin.

Or one more little lagniappe:

If you think that the hardest thing is saying you're wrong
When you've been wrong,
I think you should know
That the really hardest thing is, when you've been absolutely
Not saying nyah nyah nyah, I told you so.

Have a nice night. I shall.


At 10:09 AM, Blogger Gayle said...

I never say "I told you so." I simply say, "see... I didn't say 'I told you so!'" :)

I like the poem too. You are very creative.

At 8:40 PM, Blogger Three Score and Ten or more said...

Don't give me credit for the poem, I only quoted it from Judith Viorst's SAD UNDERWEAR. (The book, not the actual underwear which I haven't seen----no, not ever.)

At 6:33 AM, Anonymous Kathleen said...

Richard, you may want to check out this website www.bookcrossing.com. I participate in this and feel tremendous satisfaction with each book I release.

As always, great post.


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