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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Box of Bedtime Stories

In a cardboard box my mother kept
Her treasured things for me to see:
Where each object held a secret
To tell, after the day had slept,
                  In a bedtime story.
There lay the precious haul of a chosen few
To accompany me when very small:
Select stories that took me for madcap thrills;
In a garden with a giant beanstalk tree,
Mountainous forests ancient as the hills,
Dragons flying over its greenery.

                  My mother would bid me one story for the night
                  And tentatively, excitedly I might
                  Try to prolong the wait momentarily:
                  Small fingers meandering through in some measure,
                  Searching a paradise of hoarded up treasure,
                  Wondering what great story would find me
                  Each night with promises of adventure:
                  And oh! a nightly trek of different heights, slanted
                  Down emerald hills and over the water!
                  Such imagery! as holy and enchanted
                  As a child in wonder can be, undaunted
                  And free in play to wander and discover!
                  Such stories taught me the courage to journey
                  As the child in me grew bolder and older,
                  To discover in the real world the mountains
                  And the raging seas, or shining places
                  Turning gold in a more golden sun's sea,
                  Or that to journey to such magical beauties
                  Needed nothing more than a small box of stories.

                  As age increased, the trinkets displayed
                  Routinely by my mother to me
                  Would contain tales her life had made
                  Of memory and history.
In those nights I learnt a sense of family,
And of the inheritance she bequeathed to me:
                  Not of money or visible
                  Wealth that could be divisible,
                  But of an indivisible tradition
                  With lessons for a future generation:
                  To know of strength in union,
                  Forgiveness, acceptance and ablution,
                  And of love! true and invisible
                  That makes a heart invincible;
To not just keep the old, but make from it the new;
To teach young hearts to be irresponsible
Enough to dream that anything is possible
With choice and heart planted in good principle of old,
For the child knows he will be forever wanted, too:
In all the stories there is a centred love told
That tells the child whatever he goes through,
When he closes his eyes to dream anew
There is one place to always come home to:
As a child the stories his mother knew,
Once in a box, now let loose in a heart's review.

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