“Do you know," Peter asked, "why swallows build in the eaves of houses? It is to listen to the stories.” ~ J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan


Sighs Aplenty

It is all soft tonight, and shadows everywhere, and Maggie curled up on the other end of this bench and old music Johnny Mercer soft jazziness on the tv and the sound of flames flickering in the old gas heater and black and white socks keeping my toes warm and the idea of deep autumn moving closer, and it is my birthday this weekend and what do I want  he asked and this year I did not say world peace, I said peace of mind, that, and a long massage with hot rocks, and Mercer has put me in the mood for Diana Krall, who takes me back to last fall and early listening to her Christmas cd, in the car with Maggie to the vet's, just the slow songs - so much measured by those weekly trips to the vet, and I think of Michael who married & divorced very young, spending so much time with his young son in the car - have I told you this?  I am getting older, you know, I may have forgotten - picking his son up for weekends here and there, from dayschool and babysitters and they all lived out on country roads, and so much  time spent in that car, he and his son, and his son one day reciting baby poems the teachers taught, and Michael, thinking that perhaps better  poetry was required, spent those rides in the car teaching AE Housman's "When I Was One-and-Twenty", and the day came when he dropped off his son at his ex-wife's and there were relatives oohing and aahing and give us a poem  the ex-wife said, expecting one of those baby poems, indeed would have been proud  of one of those baby poems, but instead his son recited Housman, out of the mouths of babes, don'tcha know, standing there all 3 years old:

When I was one-and-twenty
I heard a wise man say,
"Give crowns and pounds and guineas
But not your heart away;
Give pearls away and rubies
But keep your fancy free."
But I was one-and-twenty,
No use to talk to me.

When I was one-and-twenty
I heard him say again,
"The heart out of the bosom
Was never given in vain;
'Tis paid with sighs aplenty
And sold for endless rue."
And I am two-and-twenty
And oh, 'tis true, 'tis true.

and of course everyone was amazed and a bit taken aback and even Michael was surprised while inwardly he laughed, not knowing how much his son had really memorized, and quite, quite pleased about the entire affair, because, after all, it was  his ex-wife's family, you know.


  1. I am screaming with laughter here. Dying as I picture their faces. Really, this much laughter is not appropriate this late at night. I'll wake the little one. Oh, I do love EW Michael stories.

  2. Sigh. The way you use words brings a peaceful feeling to my heart and this story is full of warmth and a small smile and even a glimmer of hope. yes, hope.

  3. that is a fantastic story. told well. can't ask more than that.


  4. always, always love coming here. your story telling is the best. i can't imagine hearing a little 3yr old reciting that poem - hilarious and wonderful.

  5. Oh, this touches deep in my heart - a 3yr old reciting Houseman...




  6. You are such a storyteller. I could almost HEAR you telling this one. It almost sounds like a song.


  7. chuckling at the vision of the poem from little guy and the couch ..big sigh~

  8. First and foremost: Happy Birthday fellow Scorpio! : )
    I hit the 55 mark-halfway to 60 you know...better to be old than to not be at all!

    What a delicious and delightful story! Those car rides make for some very special bonding time, for sure.

  9. I like your writing style here and what a lovely story.


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