And the days are not full enough

And the days are not full enough

“And the days are not full enough
And the nights are not full enough
And life slips by like a field mouse
Not shaking the grass.”

—Ezra Pound

I just bought The Rattle Bag: An Anthology of Poetry, a collection edited by Seamus Heaney and Ted Hughes. (Thanks, Mom, for the Amazon gift cert for my birthday!) I’ve been looking for a child-friendly collection of poetry that isn’t all the usual standards. I’ve already got plenty of those. I like this collection, what I’ve seen of it so far, precisely because it is so idiosyncratic, determined by the individual tastes of two great poets. All the poems are arranged in alphabetic order by title, allowing for a charming sort of serendipity.

Anyway, after I tore open the box this afternoon, I sat down and opened up the book and read this poem by Pound—and then had to run to deal with a skinned knee or spilled paint or empty sippy or dirty diaper, I forget which. I look forward to keeping this by my chair and flipping through it at random moments. This is my idea of how to teach poetry appreciation. I read poetry. I share what I like, reading it out to Bella and Sophie. What is lovely is how often they respond by composing their own verses. This is how it should be. I write down their compositions and praise their strengths. And so poetry is something we do, something we enjoy. It begins with Mother Goose and it continues with delightful rhyming picture books and I think this is the next stage….

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  • “(He didn’t mention, but I thought about how Mary was expecting too and how exhausting that first trimester is, which makes Mary’s devotion to her cousin all the more moving.)”

    I’m going to throw out a little controversy I guess, but I have always wondered where this notion comes from that Mary went to Elizabeth to take care of Elizabeth. Scripture doesn’t say why she went only that she did. I suspect that Mary was the one needing care.

    I base this thought on my own experience. In my own pregnancies, when do I need the most care, six weeks or six months? Six weeks, hands down. At six weeks I am utterly incapacitated. At six months, I’m tired and don’t feel 100% but am doing alright.

    Scripture also says that Mary stayed about three months so that means she left at about the time John was born. I ask myself when do I need more help, the month before the baby is born or the month after? Again, the month after, hands down. But that’s when Mary left.

    These two thoughts together really make me think that this trip was for Mary’s care and not Elizabeth’s. I might be wrong, but something about that timeline just doesn’t make sense to me in the traditional way it is presented. I don’t think there is anything wrong with Mary needing help. I don’t think it is degrading to her all.

    Anyone else have thoughts on it?