Monday, August 31, 2009

Round The Wild Witch-Hazel Tree

Ouphe and goblin! imp and sprite! elf of eve and starry fay!
Ye that love the moon's soft light, hither-- hither wend your way.
Twine ye in a jocund ring, sing and trip it merrily,
Hand to hand and wing to wing, round the wild witch-hazel tree...

(from Elfin Song, by Joseph Rodman Drake)

That's the start of the first poem I ever memorized and I still know it by heart. I was about twelve years old and was obsessed with anything to do with fairies, especially poems, which I collected and memorized and recited to myself in the lush Oregon forests and grassy fields where I searched for fairy rings after the rain. Sometimes I'd run into the house after a day spent outside in the woods with a poetry book from the library, and read a favorite verse to my mom as she fixed dinner.

Running alongside the river today, seeing how despite all the brick and cement of New York there are patches of wild brambles and weeds growing thick beside the trail, the Queen Anne's Lace and blackberry bushes reminded me of home, my youth, and growing up in a little dream world of fairies and imagination. I thought about the tunnel I made into the heart of a brushy thicket where I would go hide from my brothers and sisters until it got dark and glow worms lit up around me; the times I'd climb onto the roof and write in my journal; my mother's garden, full of poppies.

Last night I dreamt I was reunited with Cassie, my childhood dog--a silly dream really, but sweet. It's not often that I think of her, or the fairy poems I learned, or all my childhood antics, but they are still inside me, unforgotten. I wonder why we sometimes suddenly think about things like this, but just imagine how sad life would be without these dear memories. When I think about the child I was, I wonder how much I've changed.

Sandra told Dali she thought I looked sad today at work. Probably I was just exhausted from cooking all weekend and staying up until 2 a.m. each night. Also, I suspect I've developed a "work face" which is a bit tougher than my usual exterior, because otherwise the watch dealers (and my coworkers sometimes!) try to take advantage of me and my helpful personality. Hopefully New York isn't hardening me. I don't want to lose my childlike sense of fun, my cheerful nature. I don't think I am. Today I feel hopeful, actually. I feel peaceful, and optimistic, and I don't think its just the endorphins from running. I started over with reading the Book of Mormon last night, and in more ways than that I think I'm turning over a new leaf. Not at all shedding my childhood, but maybe going back to it in a way, coming full circle, nearing a place where everything feels good and right and magical again. I think I'm going to start memorizing poems again.

1 comment:

tkangaroo said...

I've been thinking about this a lot lately. Thank you for putting it into gorgeous prose.