Saturday, June 7, 2008

Que Sera, Sera

When I was a little girl, Mom use to sing that song to me...when she wasn't busy filling my head with "If a task is first begun...". Unlike the girl in the song, I didn't care about being pretty or being rich, I just liked the chorus: "Whatever will be, will be. The future's not ours to see. Que sera, sera."

I've been pondering the future lately. I'm currently caught in politically correct hell. That means I love my seniors but I'm finding it harder to tolerate the affirmative action of the machine in charge of it all. This is a terrible predicament for a kid raised to believe one does the right thing for the right reasons, no matter how difficult. The other day my hubby asked, "What makes you truly happy? What do you enjoy doing...just for the enjoyment of it?"

Writing...my heart whispered while my head nodded.

Writing makes me happy when life is cruel or unfair. It gives me a way to quietly scream to the world when I'm filled with joy. Today I was weeding through my computer files, wondering if one day I'll ever compile them into something. Unlike Shug or Rachel, I am not a poet. And the idea of standing before a crowd to read those carefully chosen words with the possible outcome being shrugs or stares from strangers who don't know the whole story just isn't for me. In my heart of hearts, I'm a storyteller. If I take you on a journey, I often need more than 500 words to do so. Today I found a story from my youth. I'd been challenged to try to share a story in poetry form. You'll see why I don't write poems...I can't write short ones. :)

So sit back and get comfortable. I know, I know. But it would've taken me pages to write the same tale as a story. There's a Part 1 and 2. Sorry. Each was a vivid memory of a 12 year old girl away from home for the first time. The trip made an impression. I hope you don't fall asleep before you find out what I gained from it. :)


LESSONS LEARNED
Part 1

Five little girls.
Black and white.
Traveled in a van
with the undertaker’s wife.
Destination: Washington, DC.

Twelve years old.
Won a trip for helping folks.
Winning in the '70s…not a well known concept.
Especially at the end
of the Vietnam War.

Arrived in the nation’s capital giggling.
Their accommodations:
A convent of nuns.
Quiet an experience
for 4 Baptists and a Latter Day Saint.

Their prize was a tour.
Their job to write it up.
Report back to the Principal
for a missed day of school.
The prize wasn’t what they expected.

Journeyed for fun.
Learned awkward lessons
courtesy of Arlington Cemetery,
The Unknown Soldier and
the work of Lee Harvey Oswald.

Arlington Cemetery.
Eerily quiet. Creepily correct.
A mathematician’s symmetrical dream.
Precise angles wherever you looked.
Death done to perfection.

The Unknown Soldier.
Guarded by military precision.
Stony faces mirrored in a marble block.
How many guards pretended
to watch over a fallen buddy?

Four giggling girls
Raced for the van.
One stood with a lump in her throat
that felt as eternal
as the flame at her feet.

Quietly a soldier approached.
Silently laid a hand on the little girl’s shoulder
and stood reverently with her for one brief moment.
Funny. His touch
reached all the way to my heart.

LESSONS LEARNED
Part 2

Five little girls.
Black and white.
Traveled in a van
With the undertaker’s wife.
Destination: Hotel for ice cream.

End of a long day.
Even in November
ice cream sounded good.
An all American follow-up
to our authentic Chinese dinner.

Restaurant was empty
except for one couple.
Possibly a romantic dinner.
Not sure, as a mischievous waiter
was hustling us towards the bar to place our order.

Five giggling girls
climbing up on bar stools to rattle off favorite flavors.
The bartender, with visions of unemployment
and possibly jail time for murdering a coworker,
promptly sent them to a table as the waiter giggled.

Seated next to the romantic couple,
five little girls turned to look.
He was dashing in Marine dress blues.
She was picture book pretty.
Four little girls diverted their eyes uneasily and looked away.

The fifth little girl was spellbound.
Watching the Marine look the woman in the eye,
the little girl’s heart skipped a beat
right along with the pretty woman’s
as he took her hand and smiled.

Although she couldn’t hear the words,
the girl somehow understood the dance
interpreted by the woman’s face.
He spoke, then she spoke.
Their laughter intertwined until you couldn’t tell them apart.

The little girl wanted to scoot closer.
To hear what the handsome man said
that made the woman look so fascinated,
and shy and moved and happy
all at once.

Four little girls
No longer giggling.
Hissing at the fifth
that it was impolite to stare
at a man in a wheelchair.

The fifth girl frowned.
Confused by what they said.
Staring at each, as
one by one, they glanced at the man,
then diverted their eyes.

Very carefully, so as not to cause a scene
the fifth girl politely checked
and was amazed to discover that
the Knight in Shining Armor
had ridden in on his own set of wheels.

Oddly enough, it didn’t matter.
For one thought kept returning to the little girl.
One day when I grow up
I want a man to look at me
the way he looks at her.

Five giggling girls.
4 left laughing.
One left changed.
She never saw his chair.
She only saw the love in his eyes.

My Unknown Solider.
One who survived the war.
Left to ride his government issued metal.
Got the girl.
And won my heart.

4 comments:

shug said...

Your work's got real guts, I think. If this was a poetry workshop, which thankfully it isn't, i would suggest some wee things, but there's a real emotional hit there.

hope said...

That means a lot coming from you. It's funny, when I re-read it, I can see the changes I'd make. Yesterday I simply posted "as is".

The only way to grow is to accept the wisdom of others, so go ahead and offer. I can take it...you're not a staring crowd. :)

Rachel Fox said...

There's some lovely stuff in there ...it just needs setting free...it feels stilted in places like you're telling yourself 'I'm not a poet, I'm not a poet' over and over again. So turn the volume down on that and let the words fall about all over the place a bit...then tidy them up again here and there if needed. See - no workshop required! Poetry workshops...the stuff of nightmares!

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