Thursday, August 26, 2010

he also happens to be a shooting star . . .

Freda, author of What's the Story in Dalamory, posted this video a few days ago and I must follow suit. It is too charming and uplifting not to pass along. I am following the video and text of the poem with Genius Child by Langston Hughes, a poem that draws me to it in powerful ways and also unnerves me because of the trend in these times to fear and despise intelligence and intellectual thinking. Personally, I do love extremely smart children. Have I ever met a genius child? I don't think I have. But if and when I do I will celebrate my great good fortune to know one and I will tell him or her exactly that.

Litany ~ by Billy Collins
You are the bread and the knife,
the crystal goblet and the wine.
You are the dew on the morning grass
and the burning wheel of the sun.
You are the white apron of the baker,
and the marsh birds suddenly in flight.

However, you are not the wind in the orchard,
the plums on the counter,
or the house of cards.
And you are certainly not the pine-scented air.
There is just no way that you are the pine-scented air.

It is possible that you are the fish under the bridge,
maybe even the pigeon on the general's head,
but you are not even close
to being the field of cornflowers at dusk.

And a quick look in the mirror will show
that you are neither the boots in the corner
nor the boat asleep in its boathouse.

It might interest you to know,
speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,
that I am the sound of rain on the roof.

I also happen to be the shooting star,
the evening paper blowing down an alley
and the basket of chestnuts on the kitchen table.

I am also the moon in the trees
and the blind woman's tea cup.
But don't worry, I'm not the bread and the knife.
You are still the bread and the knife.
You will always be the bread and the knife,
not to mention the crystal goblet and--somehow--the wine.


Genius Child
~by Langston Hughes

This is a song for the genius child.
Sing it softly, for the song is wild.
Sing it softly as ever you can ---
Lest the song get out of hand.

Nobody loves a genius child.

Can you love an eagle,
Tame or wild?

Wild or tame,
Can you love a monster
Of frightening name?

Nobody loves a genius child.

Kill him - and let his soul run wild



Freda said...

You have extraordinary insight, so thank you for expanding on the video and for the words to the poems. (And for the link!) Every Blessing

Kat Mortensen said...

I do find this a bit scary. I am relieved to see the nuances of childishness creep in here and there. Thanks for sharing this - quite amazing!

I saw your comment on my interview at TFE's and I'm following you now!


Darlene said...

I think the little boy has a great memory. Is he a genius? I don't know. My son was about that age when we recited "Twas the Night Before Christmas" word for word, but misunderstood the word 'kerchief' and,to our amusement, said "and Ma in her britchhes."

In all honesty, my hearing loss prevented me from understanding most of the child's words, so my comment may be inappropriate.

The poem "Genius Child" was dark.

kj said...

i found this fascinating,lydia, having three year old in my life. this little guy doesn't look stressed reciting all these lines of billy collins,

and besides, there's also my mr. ryan. perfectly;

'the wheels on the bus go round and round,
round and round,
all day long.'

(don't ask me about itsy bitsy spider..."

love lydia,

Lydia said...

Freda~ Thank you and certainly it was my pleasure.
There are days past and current, and today has been one of them, where your feed simply doesn't work for me. Has anyone else mentioned this? I cannot get to your blog today, Freda, which is very frustrating!

Kat~ I feel honored to have you as a follower. The interview was just wonderful and, although I've seen your name on blogrolls and in comments, it is what finally led me to your blog.
I hadn't thought of it as scary but I see how it could be alarming excepting for the hints of the child that you mentioned.

Darlene~ "Ma in her britches" is really funny. I love the way kids work out their own words as fillers in places where they have lost or don't understand the real word.
Your comment wasn't inappropriate; the kid really did get the poem down 99.9%.
The poem is dark but I love it. I would love to go back in time and meet Langston Hughes.
When I think child genius I think Mozart!

kj~ Mr. Ryan has good taste! And he's darned handsome too.
I agree with you about this boy not seeming stressed. Freda asked for opinions when she posted this vid at her blog and I mentioned that he does not seem autistic or savant, but instead seems grounded and able to switch with glee to the what's next...

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

OK so the cynic in me would like to remind everyone that not everything you see on the internet is what it appears to be and that these things can be faked.

Cynic now away - i suppose it is possible to teach a 3-year-old a poem like this if you spent a lot of time, but i think kids should be allowed to be kids - we spend so much time pressuring them to "be" something and they grow up so fast now that childhood should be cherished for as long as possible. It's a great pome either way :)

Lydia said...

Pixies~ Well, you brought up a point I had not considered. I don't think this is fake, but who knows for sure. There's at least one more vid of this little guy quoting poetry at youtube. And you are right that kids are pressured beyond belief these days. I guess I just want to think that this kid was a born poet and it brings him delight... and if that's not the case then the mother should give him a break!

Rhiannon said...

Well, that certainly was impressive..if this little boy can quote and memorize all this so young, he might actually be able to let it sink in and what the poem means..who knows?

I couldn't have said it any better than you, about people fearing intelligence, being articulate or even actually making "common sense"...where are we going these days? It seems to me in the last couple of years that a lot of good people that are making sense and speaking up about it, are punished and a lot of bad people are "rewarded" for their "slamming" others..especially in politics. Why can't we change that? Other countries have. I still haven't figured out why so many in this country are acting so selfish and petty and mean and angry. What has happened to us?

Oh, got lost in the words of thought..sorry about that Lydia...

I'm so glad to know you in the blog world and that you are around to state some "common sense" and are so "real".

I must admit I would love to live in a house like this...any house would seems like a "home" to me!...I've so missed that feeling. Privacy, a back yard. But really I feel very blessed compared to many these days. I've seen too much suffering in this country and even all around me and in my own town and state and country.

However, your mother's comments to what you tried to tell her..sounds a lot like me and my mother way back when..makes you wonder if they love nature and animals so much, then why were and are they hurting them with so many chemicals and then people defending themselves about using all this "crap". It's maybe a lot of denial? I've had people get pissed at me when I state what you stated to your mother..then down the road science proves us right. Isn't that always the way? Did your mother actually let you sit there and bleed? Mine did that, we have more in common than I though.

Lydia said...

Rhi~ Dear friend, I am horrified to read that your mother actually treated you like that. Mine did not. What I wrote in the other post is fiction, and I'm glad you left this comment because I thought I should qualify it as fiction--so added that at the intro. Thank you for helping me make the piece more clear.
My mother and I were extremely close, but we also had some really difficult times in our relationship. I never idealized her because she didn't deserve that (and vice versa!). We were at peace with one another at the time of her death. I wish it could be like that for you but from what you have said that appears to be hardly possible. I hope things are going well with your sister (and I feel that we are sorta sisters).

Fireblossom said...

I hadn't heard of Billy Collins (I know, how did I not?) until blogger Jannie Funster introduced me to him and sent me one of his books. As for Langston Hughes, I really like his poetry. I wonder how many of today's rappers would even know who he was? Not many, I'll wager.

Honstly, I don't understand the fascination to get kids to do things earlier and earlier. I don't think it ends up having much bearing on what happens later in terms of achievement. In my view, a three year old should be learning what a plum tastes like, lying in bed and taking in the sound of rain on the roof, making a mess with bread and butter, and such like. Billy Collins will still be there later, and the words will be meaningful, not rote.

Well, aren't I a sour puss this morning? It's just that I think children instinctively know what it is they are drawn to. Parents have their own agendas, but often, the twain don't meet. If my parents had had their way, I would be a tax attorney or a corporate wife, not a poetess.

annell said...

I love the work of Langston Hughes. And the Genius Child is also very powerful! Thanks for the post.

willow said...

Beautiful. This made me cry.

Lydia said...

Fireblossom~ You are no sourpuss! I really appreciated what you wrote that a three-year-old should be fact, I thought of it this afternoon when I was mowing under our plum tree!
Now that you mention it, I think I may have first heard of Billy Collins via someone's blog. :)

annell~ Thank you for visiting my blog and for your comments. It's nice to know that there are others who love the Langston Hughes poem!

willow~ I have watched this enough that I am now beginning to memorize the poem myself!



Related Posts with Thumbnails