AUGUST 22, 2009 4:50PM

The Snail, the Skunk, and the Young Girl Caterpillar

Rate: 26 Flag

 

 
Dedicated to Robin, who received blessed news today, and her Crepe Myrtle blossomed its first pink flower

 

This is a relatively lighthearted post featuring my grandma and mom reading poems they wrote as children. It’s from the last video I shot of my grandma, taken while she visited on April 20, 2007. A few weeks before, my grandma and I had been talking on the phone, and she mentioned having found some poems she, my mom, and I had all written as children, ranging from the ages of eight to ten. I mentioned how much I would love to read them, and, amazingly, my grandma mailed them to me within the week, along with one of her short stories and some political articles by my Uncle Bobby. My grandma said how impressed she was with Bobby’s writing and that he’s been getting better, and I asked if she’d told him that. She said no, and I encouraged her to. I wonder if she ever did.

 

Here are the texts of my grandma’s poems:

 

 

“The Snail”

 

A pleasant life the snail leads

Down among the grass and weeds

Dreaming of the mug

Of a slug

 

 

“The Skunk”

 

A little skunk sat on a stone

Wondering why he was all alone

Clear enough, I did not know

To tell him that he had B - O!

 

 

“The Caterpillar”

 

There once was a young girl caterpillar

Eating flowers and veggies to fill ’er,

She aimed to become a butterfly later

But a bird came pecking around and ate her.

 

 

I think I remember my grandma saying she had written “The Caterpillar” more recently, attempting to duplicate the style of her childhood poetry. During that phone conversation, she recited it to me, and we discussed the feminist implications of the girl caterpillar being prevented from becoming a butterfly by the aggressive, sexist world. Of course, I was overanalyzing it, but it was fun explicating my grandma’s poem with her. Especially since I know she had felt trapped in a gender that precluded her participation in more male-oriented roles. Some of her happiest years were during World War II because that artificial barrier was temporarily removed and she had an opportunity to work as an electrician in a shipyard. She relished the freedom to work in a “man’s” field and was devastated when the war ended and women were told to go back to their kitchens.

 

And now, here are the texts of my mom’s poems:

 

 

“The Poor Little Elf”

 

The little elf stood on his toes

A minute later, he fell on his nose

“Ouch!” He said. “I fell on my head!”

Next, he fell on his knee

Then he lost his house key

Then someone stepped on his house

Probably some big ol’ mouse

But he found another house

That wasn’t stepped on by a mouse

 

 

“The Stork”

 

The stork brings babies

But he doesn’t bring rabies

He has a long, slender long beak

It’s very shiny and sleek

 

 

“Cheer Up”

 

Cheer up

Have a cup

Of champagne

Join a campaign

 

 

“Stamp Collection”

 

A stamp collection is a prized thing

You love to sing

When you put the last stamp in

You get goosebumps on your skin!

 

 

“The Little Pink Flower”

 

I see a little pink flower

It would taste sort of sour

But it smells so sweet

It makes a bird sing tweet

 

Although it grows from the ground

It doesn’t make a sound

Its leaves are such a pretty green

You can’t see it good through a screen

 

 

It seems appropriate that my mom wrote about empathy, optimism, and the sweet beauty of little pink flowers. With her artistic, sensitive soul and delicate demeanor, she is indeed a little pink flower.

 

As my grandma says, “See, that’s all.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note: If you missed the previous posts and would like to read more about my grandma, links to earlier chapters are available in the left-hand column.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments

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I love children's poems. Thanks for sharing these.
Mighty nice way this is presented and packaged here. The sound is good, and that music playing along fits well Melissa.
Is this just for you or is this a demo for doing more like this?
Makes a nice tribute. Spect it would sell. Don't know your plans though.
Your grandmother is delightful and Ogden Nash would be proud of her poetry! How this touched me....more tears of joy and blessing.
It's amazing that these poems have been preserved. What a treasure! In today's throw-away society, we preserve only what's meaningless and discard what's truly human.
These poems brought a smile and a sigh. Thanks
Melissa, how I love this! I'm always delighted when I get to hear the author read his/her own words. And this reading is no exception! Simply sweet and sweetly simple. Thank you. Rated. D
I loved the getting goosebump part when one is able to put in the last stamp that completes the collection or at least fill the page. and when she writes how "You can’t see it good through a screen" I felt I could see the little girl and wanted to give her a hug and pat her head :)

and your grannies insect dreaming of a mug of a slug would stay with me :) do you write too? your granny had the eye of a biologist or she seems to notice things that Tom Sawyer would :) if you know what I mean, it is therefore, appropriate she would be devastated when she had to give up being electrician and get bk to 'the kitchen'.

love your mind, Meliss.
I really liked the classic children's poetry. I found the background sounds on the video very distracting and it was difficult to understand the words properly. I'm glad you included the text of the poems.
This is such a charming post, linking three generations of writers.
Melissa, they very enchanting poems and it's wonderful that you have preserved them. I'm sure WWII was an amazing time for your grandmother and can only imagine her dismay when banished back to every day life and the kitchen. She probably should have been the one to pose for the Rosie the riveter photo! Thanks for sharing!
These are brilliant. I couldn't write poetry, even as a child. Hell, some say I'm still a child but I can't write poetry. Thank you for sharing these with us.
The poems are a trip down a young and bright memory lane! Thanks for sharing them.
wonderful post-like family faces- you seem to have similar traits in your writing but just enough change in thought to make it distinctly each your own. What a beautiful treasure to pass on.
I love watching how your Grandma reads her poetry, relaxes, then recites for the camera. I also watch in wonder as she watches her poems being read, acting youthful, knowing your mom is reading and reacting. This moment brightens my Sunday afternoon. Thank you.
oh...this is so sweet...xox
I know that LOL is banned at OS but I did laugh out loud at The Caterpillar. Pure delight. Thank you for sharing these.
It is truly an honor to be a part of this documentary that you are laying out like a beautiful quilt. It's just a lovely way to remember those in our lives that mean so much.
Thank You
Rated
Delightful! I love children poems so much; your mom´s and your grandma´s are really good. I laughed out loud with "the Caterpillar" and with "Cheer up", then the one about the elf is so sweet!
Beautiful, thanks!
Kisses,
Marcela
What beautiful bright spirits you all share! And the fact that your grandma kept the poems . . . I do wonder how much we've all lost from among the things we wrote as kids. The poems themselves are treasures, but watching/hearing the (now adult) authors reading them was priceless as well. And the score sets the tone so gently, yet firmly . . . brilliant.
You are all so wonderful, and I’ve been negligent about responding to your lovely comments. Right now, I have a migraine so will have to postpone even longer. Just know that I appreciate each one of you and your kind words. Will respond in more detail as soon as I am able.

—Melissa
I enjoyed this Melissa. These are precious memories for you and Michael.

Monte
What a joy! I am so thankful that your memories have escaped the confines of your personal space and have been shared with us over the internet through writings, stories, photographs, video and audio recordings. The riches of our world increases by leaps and bounds.
Splindid post and addition to the story of your Grandma. I really enjoyed this.

The reading is like a dip in the pool of shared pasts of innocence. Having the generations meet and mingle at the boosom of poetry - the play between the two, mother and child, was video poetry of its own. Like an 'over-poem'.

Thank you for this post. Treasured memories packaged with care like this are rare.

peece,
dj
this is so sweet
your Granny would be so proud
What I wouldn't have given for a moment like this with MY grandma -- and video recorded too. Smart girl. Thanks.
Thanks, everyone, for your tremendous patience! There was the migraine, yes, but then I also got diverted by all of your shiny new posts. And then I realized I was getting addicted to OS (realized?! okay, I’ve known it for three months, but this time, I tried to do something about it). So I decided to see if I could stay away from OS for one whole day, and then a bit. Well, I did it! Not only did I survive, I actually got a chance to do some writing and design projects! Speaking of, I hope to get back to those as soon as I finish responding to comments, so here I go.


@Eva:

“I love children's poems. Thanks for sharing these.”

So glad you enjoyed them!

—Melissa


@Mission:

“Mighty nice way this is presented and packaged here. The sound is good, and that music playing along fits well Melissa.”

Thanks, Mission! That is another one of Michael’s compositions from the Finding Their Way Home (FTWH) score.

“Is this just for you or is this a demo for doing more like this? Makes a nice tribute. Spect it would sell. Don't know your plans though.”

We’re starting to work on the DVD extras for FTWH, so this is partly for that purpose, partly for sharing with our OS friends. Some of these fragments may wend their way into a separate, more biographical documentary at some point.

—Melissa


@Robin:

“Your grandmother is delightful and Ogden Nash would be proud of her poetry! How this touched me....more tears of joy and blessing.”

Oh, Robin, that would mean so much to her! Thank you for your sweet-souled words. Michael and I continue to celebrate your bountiful blessings. You are such a gift.

—Melissa
@Steve:

“It's amazing that these poems have been preserved. What a treasure!”

Even more amazing is that my Grandma actually managed to find them! Her files were as chaotic and haphazard as mine are ;-)

“In today's throw-away society, we preserve only what's meaningless and discard what's truly human.”

Wise words indeed, Steve. Thank you, again, for being here.

—Melissa


@Hazel:

“These poems brought a smile and a sigh. Thanks”

Always honored to bring a smile—one of my grandma’s favorite gifts, both to offer and receive. Thanks for sharing your cheer.

—Melissa


@Yarn Over:

“Melissa, how I love this! I'm always delighted when I get to hear the author read his/her own words. And this reading is no exception! Simply sweet and sweetly simple. Thank you. Rated.”

If you could only know how deeply your description of my grandma as an author would have touched her! You are sweet, D. Thank you again for your kindness.

—Melissa
@Nabina:

“I loved the getting goosebump part when one is able to put in the last stamp that completes the collection or at least fill the page. and when she writes how "You can’t see it good through a screen" I felt I could see the little girl and wanted to give her a hug and pat her head :)”

You are as adorable as my mom, Nabina :-)

“and your grannies insect dreaming of a mug of a slug would stay with me :)”

Hehe :-)

“do you write too?”

I’d say so :-) Eventually, I’ll post some more excerpts from this video shoot, one of which shows me reading the poems I wrote as a child that my grandma had saved. And I also will begin sharing poems I wrote to my grandma after she departed.

“your granny had the eye of a biologist or she seems to notice things that Tom Sawyer would :)”

You are really getting a sense of her tomboyish spirit!

“if you know what I mean, it is therefore, appropriate she would be devastated when she had to give up being electrician and get bk to 'the kitchen'.”

Yes, I do know what you mean, Nabina. Truly.

“love your mind, Meliss.”

:-) I think that’s the first time anyone’s ever called me “Meliss”! My name doesn’t lend itself well to nicknames. That was cute, though. You made me smile :-)

—Melissa
@coffeegyrl:

“I really liked the classic children's poetry.”

Thanks, coffeegyrl!

“I found the background sounds on the video very distracting and it was difficult to understand the words properly. I'm glad you included the text of the poems.”

Yes, isn’t that leafblower annoying?! The hazards of on-location shooting ;-) Thanks for stopping by, and so glad you enjoyed the poems.

—Melissa


@Lea:

“This is such a charming post, linking three generations of writers.”

Thank you, Lea, and lovely to see you here again. I’ve promised elsewhere to post the other segment of this video showing me reading a few of the poems I wrote when I was little. While I was initially reluctant to move out from behind the camera, I’m now glad I did, as it is the only video I have of myself with my grandma.

—Melissa


@Pamela:

“Melissa, they very enchanting poems and it's wonderful that you have preserved them.”

I appreciate your presence and your sweet words, Pamela.

“I'm sure WWII was an amazing time for your grandmother and can only imagine her dismay when banished back to every day life and the kitchen. She probably should have been the one to pose for the Rosie the riveter photo!”

Yes! I can’t wait to begin sharing that episode of her life. I was hoping to post that next, but I have some photos I’d like to scan first and I may also want to include a video component. Meanwhile, I started working on a different post related to a surprise package I received from my grandma just the other day. New gifts from her continue to grace me as my mother, uncle, and others share her writings with me over time.

—Melissa
@Ger:

“These are brilliant. I couldn't write poetry, even as a child. Hell, some say I'm still a child but I can't write poetry. Thank you for sharing these with us.”

Haha! Thanks for the smiles, Ger. I suspect you might be underestimating your poetic potential, though :-)

—Melissa


@zumalicious:

“The poems are a trip down a young and bright memory lane! Thanks for sharing them.”

Always a delight to see you, zuma! Glad you found the passage bright :-)

—Melissa


@Splendidly Average:

“wonderful post-like family faces-”

So happy to welcome you, Splendidly!

“you seem to have similar traits in your writing but just enough change in thought to make it distinctly each your own. What a beautiful treasure to pass on.”

Thank you so much for pointing that out—I hadn’t really thought about the similarities, but of course, you’re right! Maybe it’s the childlikeness—and their shared passions for animals, beauty, and just life.

—Melissa
@Chuck:

“I love watching how your Grandma reads her poetry, relaxes, then recites for the camera.”

Yes, it’s like she’s standing in front of the class and working up her nerve to read these very poems—only she would’ve been far too shy to even speak! Fortunately, she was amazingly at ease and natural on camera, whether she knew she was being recorded (like here) or not (like in Finding Their Way Home).

“I also watch in wonder as she watches her poems being read, acting youthful, knowing your mom is reading and reacting.”

So sorry for any confusion! The poems my mom reads were ones she had written herself. So they’re each reading their own writing. I’m trying to clarify but realize all those pronouns still make things a bit ambiguous. Hope I’ve clarified rather than confused ;-)

“This moment brightens my Sunday afternoon. Thank you.”

Thank you, Chuck. Your writing—whether it’s your brilliant posts, your kind comments here or elsewhere—always brightens our afternoons. You are a dear soul and a cherished friend.

—Melissa


@Robin:

“oh...this is so sweet...xox”

Hugs and kisses to you, too, Robin! So lovely to see you here.

—Melissa


@TheObsoleteMan:

“I know that LOL is banned at OS but I did laugh out loud at The Caterpillar. Pure delight. Thank you for sharing these.”

Hahaha! And I daresay I smiled out loud at your comment, if there is such a thing :-) Welcome, TOS, and it’s wonderful to see you here!

—Melissa
@micalpeace:

“It is truly an honor to be a part of this documentary that you are laying out like a beautiful quilt. It's just a lovely way to remember those in our lives that mean so much.”

The honor is all mine, micalpeace. Thank you for graciously participating in this process and for all of your tender writing about your own beloved family.

—Melissa


@Marcela:

“Delightful! I love children poems so much; your mom´s and your grandma´s are really good. I laughed out loud with "the Caterpillar" and with "Cheer up", then the one about the elf is so sweet! Beautiful, thanks!”

*grin* You are such a cheerful soul, Marcela. Thanks for spreading beauty wherever you travel.

Here’s to Annies—and magical Marcelas :-)

—Melissa


@Owl:

“What beautiful bright spirits you all share!”

Thank you, Owl! You are such a ray of sunshine, yourself.

“And the fact that your grandma kept the poems . . . I do wonder how much we've all lost from among the things we wrote as kids. The poems themselves are treasures, but watching/hearing the (now adult) authors reading them was priceless as well.”

I’m so glad I brought those poems to the shoot! And that my grandma had just mailed them. So much to be grateful for.

“And the score sets the tone so gently, yet firmly . . . brilliant.”

It’s fun starting to pair the compositions from Finding Their Way Home with these DVD extras and random excerpts. I wanted to raise the volume of the music in this piece, but Michael objected since it would conflict too much with the vocals. A precarious balance, I know, but I always want to hear more of the music :-)

—Melissa
@Monte:

“I enjoyed this Melissa. These are precious memories for you and Michael.”

Delightful to see you, Monte! Thanks, as always, for your dear words.

—Melissa


@Brinna:

“What a joy! I am so thankful that your memories have escaped the confines of your personal space and have been shared with us over the internet through writings, stories, photographs, video and audio recordings. The riches of our world increases by leaps and bounds.”

Aww, thanks, Brinna! You always say the sweetest things :-) I am profoundly grateful for the Internet, as that’s the only medium which allows me the freedom to share so many different dimensions of my grandma in doable chunks. If I had to wait until I had a complete oeuvre in publishable format, it might never happen!

—Melissa


@Mary:

“I don't think you were over-anylizing. People write peotry from a higher power. Don't forget the writer only writes the poem; the reader interprits it. It is like those esoteric French reading theory you understand without know that you understand, like Marxism.”

Thanks for the wise perspective, Mary. I love that thought about the French understanding without knowing they understand—that certain je ne sais quois ;-)

—Melissa
Love Grandma. I love your avatar and name.
This is a good, night-bless mood conk-outer.
Mother and Grandmother read child books.

Books such as:`Alice in Wonderland's are in my wood shop. I love that the old books have colored crayon drawings. That reflects the child was inspired. O, child daydream thoughts ? I'll wonder what the drawings in the old books were were inspired by?
I'll always request this:`if I tip a waitress while traveling?
Ya have children, nieces? Please buy a child sharp crayons?

There is so much joy when one is offered a gift of crayons? If a person is the person who is:`being a recipient of a new box of colorful crayons ... !.... The world changes? The world sure needs responsible and creative creatures .. Yes? The human is weary of worn gibber - jabber - babble ... ! ... I'd rather wake up to a sincere offerings of a sweet chocolate eclair to get me animated. Yummy!

A wedge of goat cheese on a bagel won't hurt. I just ate some brie goat cheese.
My Grandmother loved chocolate cream filled candy from old Baltimore's, inner city-harbor market. I'd settle for an eclair. Good night.
@David:

“Splindid post and addition to the story of your Grandma. I really enjoyed this.”

Your presence is precious, David, as I know how inundated you are right now. Thank you for taking the time to leave this lyrical comment.

“The reading is like a dip in the pool of shared pasts of innocence. Having the generations meet and mingle at the boosom of poetry - the play between the two, mother and child, was video poetry of its own. Like an 'over-poem'.”

What a beautiful and touching observation!

“Thank you for this post. Treasured memories packaged with care like this are rare.”

You know how dearly Michael and I treasure your friendship, David, and these words are powerful coming from someone we consider so remarkably rare.

—Melissa


@Kathy:

“this is so sweet”
“your Granny would be so proud”

Oh, Kathy! These simple words nearly brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for that gift. You, too, are sweet.

—Melissa


@SeattleK8:

“What I wouldn't have given for a moment like this with MY grandma -- and video recorded too. Smart girl. Thanks.”

Thank you, SeattleK8, and welcome! I’m profoundly grateful God made me an obsessive recorder from birth :-) So much so, the thought of corralling those thousands of fragments is quite daunting! That’s why I’m so giddy about this format—it lets me release these found and crafted objects bird by bird, as life allows.

—Melissa
@Arthur:

“Love Grandma. I love your avatar and name.”

Thanks, Arthur! Glad to see you here.

“Books such as:`Alice in Wonderland's are in my wood shop. I love that the old books have colored crayon drawings. That reflects the child was inspired.”

What a beautiful image!

“I'll always request this:`if I tip a waitress while traveling?
Ya have children, nieces? Please buy a child sharp crayons?”


I love this anecdote! Now I will always think of you when I see sharp crayons :-)

“There is so much joy when one is offered a gift of crayons? If a person is the person who is:`being a recipient of a new box of colorful crayons ... !.... The world changes? The world sure needs responsible and creative creatures .. Yes?”

Yes!!!

Here’s a chocolate eclair and a box of colorful crayons, Arthur, and good night to you, as well.

—Melissa
Marvelous! Your grandmother's smile and laugh are positively infectious, and I love that you were able to have not just your grandmother but your mother as well reading their childhood poems. This made my morning!
Ah, delicate demeanor perfectly describes your mother as I've seen her here.

Lovely to see and hear the laughter.
@dustbowldiva:

“Marvelous! Your grandmother's smile and laugh are positively infectious, and I love that you were able to have not just your grandmother but your mother as well reading their childhood poems. This made my morning!”

And this comment made my evening! Thanks, dustbowldiva :-)

—Melissa


@consonantsandvowels:

“Ah, delicate demeanor perfectly describes your mother as I've seen her here.”

:-)

“Lovely to see and hear the laughter.”

Lovely to see and hear you, consonantsandvowels! Your presence is becoming as precious as a Newton sighting lately ;-)

I am so proud and happy you have managed to escape the vortex! (I always accidentally type “vortext” and then have to change it to “vortex,” but maybe that’s one of those parapraxes Annette talks about—OS really does merit the invention of a new term for this particular gravitational sensation: the vortext it is!)

—Melissa
Melissa I see I've got some catching up to do. I can see why you call her the Love Grandma, she has such a joyous spirit that just shines through. Thanks so much for sharing her with us.
Newton!!! It’s an honor to see you, new avatar and all. How appropriate (dare I say synchronistic?!) that you should emerge when David departs on a temporary sojourn. As the presence of his light dimmed, yours brightened. Waxing and waning.

“Melissa I see I've got some catching up to do.”

No pressure, no rush. I know the feeling of falling behind and the crushing impossibility of catching up, so I don’t want to add to your todo list any more than I already have :-)

“I can see why you call her the Love Grandma, she has such a joyous spirit that just shines through. Thanks so much for sharing her with us.”

Thanks so much for your gracious participation in the project!

Hope your thesis is progressing nicely. Looking forward to reading excerpts! (Although I’m still saving your latest for a quiet stretch when I can properly contemplate it, just as I’ve been saving David’s latest poem.)

Glad to see you back for a spell,

Melissa

P.S. I wonder if you noticed my statement about the rarity of a Newton sighting in my response to consonantsandvowels above :-)
I just dug into writing my thought so I did miss it, but tin doing so inadvertently answered your call. And the vortex indeed...
had me giggling- what is the background music?
These are wonderful! But where are your childhood poems?! It would have been lovely to see three generations of talent.
Then again, we see your talent all the time I guess.
Beuatifully written.
@Newton:

“I just dug into writing my thought so I did miss it, but tin doing so inadvertently answered your call. And the vortex indeed...”

Glad you came back and saw it :-) Yes, consonantsandvowels is the one who first used that term, perhaps inspired by your piece by that title?

—Melissa


@Julie:

“had me giggling”

Hehe :-)

“what is the background music?”

That’s currently titled composition-IVb. It’s one of the pieces from Michael’s Finding Their Way Home score. We’re drawing on the FTWH compositions for these DVD extras, since they’re related to the film but also quite different, so this gives us an opportunity to pair the music with something new. All of the music still needs to be properly mixed and mastered, but the extras don’t have to be as perfect as the film itself, so that’s what we’re focusing on right now.

—Melissa


@Kirsty:

“These are wonderful! But where are your childhood poems?! It would have been lovely to see three generations of talent.”

That’s coming up very soon :-) We already worked on Part II of this video, so I just need to write the accompanying text. Meanwhile, I’ve written a different post, so that will be going up next.

“Then again, we see your talent all the time I guess.”

*blushing*

“Beuatifully written.”

Thank you, Kirsty! So lovely to see you here.

—Melissa
Vortext. It may be that your Freudian slip is showing, but you've also found an eggcorn. Vortext. I love it.
@consonantsandvowels:

“Vortext. It may be that your Freudian slip is showing, but you've also found an eggcorn. Vortext. I love it.”

“eggcorn”! You always bring out the paripraxes in me—I came up with “greatful” in my response to your comment on my latest post ;-)

—Melissa