Camille tagged me a few days ago with "13 things about me as a child." Here are memories from a poetic childhood.
1. My earliest memory is looking outside of a window and seeing snow for the first time. In a moment of startling clarity everything was frozen, white and sparkling.
2) When I was almost five years old my mother brought home a new baby. She was a month premature and as delicate as a white poppy.
3) I remember hearing the roar of the ocean for the first time. The moment was so loud I can still feel my heart beating.
4) I discovered the power of stories at the age of six, when I announced at a "show and tell" moment that my "house had burned down." My mother was furious later when my teacher showed up with a carload of blankets etc. I had trouble with the concept of a "lie" versus a "story" but was "down" with understanding the power of words after that.
5) My mother awakened my siblings and me at midnight on an evening in January when I was seven and the moon was full, to make snow angels in perfect snow. The beauty of the moon was overwhelming. I can remember the expanse of my small arms swirling out great wings; the poignancy of that moon and the squeak, squeak of the snow rubbing against my jacket and red rubber boots.
6) My siblings and I "discovered" a library that my eldest sister knew about. The library was in a Victorian Mansion with a vast winding, marble staircase. My baby sister couldn't write her name yet and when the librarian wasn't looking, one of us forged it. I adored fairy tales, biographies and poetry.
8) There was a Victorian Cemetery in this town and my siblings and I grew up with it's otherworldly beauty as our playground. Italian and Irish had settled there in the early 1800's and had imported vast quantities of fine marbles and granites that were carved into the most exquisite of angels, seraphim, Celtic crosses and other Victorian ornaments.
9) One of the first pieces of orchestral music I ever heard was "Coppelia" and to this day I love it with abandon. As a child I would twirl around the room until I would get so dizzy I would crash onto the floor. Twirling was a favorite game.
10) An old man lived upstairs who used to read poetry aloud. I use to sit on the lawn, near the lilies of the valley and listen to him. "Flower, flower growing in the cranny wall..." and "A thing of beauty is a joy forever..." He loved, Keats, Shelley, Frost, Edgar Allen Poe. I didn't know who the poets were until I encountered them years later in school.
11) My friend, Ellen and I used to throw rotten plums at the back of cars.
13) I started writing poetry about the age of twelve and liked to reference Greek mythology. One of my first poems was "to Orpheus."
I tag everyone who reads this and wants to do this.