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FRESH FROM THE INKWELL

A LITERARY CRUISE

Like my father before me, I enjoy reading and writing parodies! This one is based on Tennyson's poem "Ulysses" which I memorized in high school. Keeping the meter and structure of the original, I adapted its theme to a world lit class I took in Texas.

A LITERARY CRUISE
with apologies to Alfred, Lord Tennyson

It little profits that a student mom,
By this hot stove, amid these scattered toys,
I dole out Popsicles to neighbor kids.
I cannot rest from reading. I devour
Words like a worm. All time I have enjoyed
Greatly, have suffered greatly, both with those
Who studied English with me and alone.
When Emma strolled through Rouen with her love,
Or Ivan lay cold in his coffin, I
Was there; with Wordsworth I beheld the Lakes;
I cried as Matryona's home broke up.
For always reading with a hungry heart,
Much have I seen and known, much tragedy
In Greece, Japan, Algeria, and France,
From Gretchen's dungeon dark to Room Nineteen.
Still in those titles yet unread there gleams
A promise of untravel'd realms ahead.
How dull it is to pause or make a C.
To know we could do better with more time!
Our sight grows dim, but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note may yet be read.
There lies the book, the Norton Anthology,
With Van Gogh's face imploring. Come, my friends.
'Tis not too late to turn another page;
Peruse the text, and do not fear to state
Your true opinions; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the syllabus, and read
The whole anthology before I die.
It may be that the themes will tax our brains.
It may be that we must repeat the course
Back here with Dr. Perkus, whom we knew.
Though much is tested, much abides, and though
We are not now so fresh and starry-eyed,
Our lives are richer for this literature.
And so we shall read on, but summer's here.
The pool looks cool; I'm cutting class; goodbye!

.............................................................................................
© Hazel Spire
Published in Homeward Tracks, Dallas 2004. Read More 
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JANUS AT THE CROSSROADS

As a 2nd/3rd grade teacher, on the first day back at school each January, I would borrow bells of all sizes from the music teacher and let my class ring in the New Year. Later when I taught art, I had 5th graders paste the double face of Janus (Roman god of gates and doorways) in the top center of the paper, looking forward and back. They would draw a memory (good or bad) from the old year on the left, and one thing that might happen in the New Year on the right.

Since retiring, I’ve had the luxury of time in which to reflect on my life and write more chapters of a memoir, BUGSY, SLUG, THE BEATLES AND ME. Last year my old my high school class in England held a reunion that I couldn’t attend. Instead, I sent this prose poem listing memories from 1st Form thru 6th Form (the equivalent of grades 6-12 in the US) at Sandown Grammar School:



NOSTALGIC ACROSTIC ©Hazel Spire
S triped summer dresses and swimming at the Blue Lagoon.
A rt teacher Mr. Binch’s encouragement: “That’s interesting!”
N eville Anderson’s solo “O Valiant Hearts” in the Little Hall.
D ancing the foxtrot, Virginia Reel and Strip the Willow in the gym.
O ut on the field in all weathers – jolly hockey sticks!
W illie Wiseman our heart throb, along with Adam Faith and Elvis.
N etball practice for Sandham house, Grassy towering over the net.

G erman with Hinny and Helmut; my penfriend Gerlinde.
R omantic poets with ‘Lit’ English. Did she have a first name?
A nthems I still remember from the choir in Assembly.
M r. Fennelly (Flan) scrabbling in the dirt at an archaeological dig.
M usic with Pastry, including a song he wrote for Speech Day.
A lgebraic and chemical formulae, unused, long forgotten.
R ailway crossing on a blue Raleigh bike, my 13th birthday present.

S ewing a yellow gingham apron with Buster Rogers.
C od Cooper’s bulging briefcase; Bert Ayling’s red cushion.
H at that I dared not remove because I lived opposite Miss Tovey.
O ld Owens (Taffy) tapping his ring on the radiator; and the
O M skipping in plimsolls at the Inkies’ Christmas Party.
L atin declension, conjugation and Caesar’s Gallic Wars.

Our Prairie Writers homework this month is A NEW BEGINNING, for which I wrote a similar piece, but looking to the future:

OPTIMISTIC ACROSTIC ©Hazel Spire
A nticipate everyday miracles.

N o recriminations over last year’s failures.
E very nook and cranny of the office filed and dusted.
W riter’s Market on hand with homes for manuscripts.

B ooks to finish, books to publish, books to read.
E xpand my speaking/teaching platform.
G oals to be set, goals to be met, but with grace periods.
I magine myself a morning person, fit and trim.
N ever neglect the arts—painting, piano, poetry.
N ational Gallery visits, via calendar and in person.
I sle of Wight in May for a high school reunion?
N ephew’s gift, a journal to record my journey.
G ear up for 2013. This could be the best year yet! Read More 
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