My darling grand-daughter
at four years old
cherishes a strange pleasure,
the seed of which,
comes from reading.
Yes, at four years old,
Clementine can read,
thanks, I believe, to the honed expertise
of her BRIGHT-BEGINNINGS Pre-K teacher,
a Miss Allenby,
and my daughter’s,
willingness to be an accomplice
to that premature gift,
and my joy in listening to her read
all those marvelous stories,
hour by hour,
when she comes to visit.
Not, of course, yet,
the English translation
of Karl Marx’s DAS CAPITAL
Sun Tsu’s THE ART OF WAR.
(Those will, hopefully, come later.)
But those lovely illustrated
telling tales of the little forest creatures,
and the, “You can call me Flower if you want to’s”
hiding and playing in the woods surrounding my home,
all the tiny insects ,
the lady bugs,
the bumble bees.
the butterflies, and ants
flitting and crawling
within and above my much tended lawn.
(so she believes.)
Clementine’s pleasure is
running around our back yard
during Spring showers
and Summer storms
dressed in her little bathing suit
grasping her lovely embroidered fan
made of cotton with lace fringes
which I gave her
on her third birthday.
She frolicks across the grass
swatting raindrops with her present,
splattering herself with the droplets
flinging out a rainbow spray
of fine, wet crystals
while singing song lines I’ve taught her,
“Rain drops keep falling on my head”
“It must be rain drops, falling from the skies”
“my eyes” for “…the skies”.
I enjoy standing on the back-deck
holding my blue and gold golf umbrella
open over my head,
watching her frantic scamper,
singing along with her,
and protecting her,
dripping glee, giggles and frivolity
runs to me and stands,
shivering and panting
under the umbrellas protection
while I dry her off
with a big beach towel.
one socked-in cloudy day
when the raindrops didn’t stop falling
and she’d exhausted her little body
in frenzied dashes on the lawn,
and she cuddled on the living room couch
wrapped in a pink fleece blanket
while I sat beside her,
warming her little feet in my hands,
I asked her,
the one word question was all she needed.
“To save the bugs, of course!”
Then she patiently explained to her old Papa,
“I break-up the raindrops
so when they splash on the dirt,
the ants won’t drown!”
(I wrote myself a mental memorandum
to scour all her books for any depictions
of such etymological holocausts
and extract said abominations,
replacing them with more
how do I quell her energetic impulses,
stop her soaked dashes in the pouring rain?
I suggested to her
she might be squashing many more ants
by scampering around the yard
than she might be saving
by swatting raindrops with her fan.
She considered my suggestion,
looking at me from under her blanket
as she might look at a slow classmate
who is unable to comprehend simple addition.
Then she carefully answered me
with the unassailable logic
which children can create on a moments notice.
“Well, I can’t worry about that
when I am having so much fun!”
is going to grow up just fine,
having already mastered one of life’s
How does one balance
doing exactly what one pleases
with the sometimes horrific,
unintended consequences of those actions?
will always possess
her long considered alibi,
“But, I’m having so much fun!”
to use as her universally applicable