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:
A pleasant life the snail leads
Down among the grass and weeds
Dreaming of the mug
Of a slug
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!
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 brings babies
But he doesn’t bring rabies
He has a long, slender long beak
It’s very shiny and sleek
Have a cup
Join a campaign
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.