Monday, March 18, 2013


We have this book of children's poems I've been reading at night to my daughter.  Most of them are stupid, nonsense-type verse about magpies and talking cows and little boys who wish for things that always come true but then there are a few from people like Shel Silverstein that are actually pretty decent.  The other night we came across an e.e. cummings selection I remember reading in high school called "Maggie and Milly and Molly and May":
maggie and milly and molly and may
went down to the beach(to play one day)

and maggie discovered a shell that sang
so sweetly she couldn't remember her troubles,and

milly befriended a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were;

and molly was chased by a horrible thing
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles:and

may came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as large as alone.

For whatever we lose(like a you or a me)
it's always ourselves we find in the sea

After I read it she said to me, "daddy when we're alone, where does everyone go?" and I said "that's a very good question, sweetheart" and I got very sad but also proud; happy because she was able to identify the essence of a complex poem from a master of the form, and sad because maybe she is starting to realize that life is sometimes hard and lonesome and not everything stays the same and that there isn't always going to be someone around to tell you where to go or what to do.  I didn't have an answer right away.  She turns four this week.  I hope to be able to speak with greater wisdom when she is older....


Shauna said...

When we are alone, where does everybody go?
Are they wandering the dessert or buried in the snow? 
Are they  hidden in a bush or stuck behind a tree? 
Or perhaps they Are invisible...unseen to you and me. 

Are we truly alone when we think we are only one?
Are there more of us perhaps hiding in the sun?
If I sing I do not feel that I'm alone
If I pray, well then, I feel like I am home.

So if I am by myself, maybe I am not
Maybe for a minute but certainly not a lot
I can always make a call or sing for all to hear
Or think of someone special...someone who is a dear. 

Here is my answer doc. Hope it makes you smile.

Anonymous said...

Dr Parks:
Thanks for sharing one of many challenging questions you will be asked by your children.

She is lucky to have a Daddy who reads poetry to her. She will remember that.

Unknown said...

very lovely daddy who read poetry to her
how Lucky your daughter to have u..
hope someday your daughter will have the answers..difficult question..