Once Upon a Time, Grandma Read to Me…

…and I fell in love with books.

Gram, my mother’s mother, loved to read. She committed poem upon poem to memory, often reciting those poems to me as I sat on her lap. Oh, and she we do so much more than recite each poem. Gram would live the poem, expressing each word with the proper amount of emotion, the perfect amount of restraint. Gram’s kitchen became my first library and she was my greatest librarian.  Here’s a portion of one of Gram’s favorite poems, John Greenleaf Whittier’s Snow-Bound (and yes, she knew the whole poem).

The sun that brief December day
Rose cheerless over hills of gray,
And, darkly circled, gave at noon
A sadder light than waning moon.
Slow tracing down the thickening sky
Its mute and ominous prophecy,
A portent seeming less than threat,
It sank from sight before it set.
A chill no coat, however stout,
Of homespun stuff could quite shut out,
A hard, dull bitterness of cold,
That checked, mid-vein, the circling race
Of life-blood in the sharpened face,
The coming of the snow-storm told.
The wind blew east; we heard the roar
Of Ocean on his wintry shore,
And felt the strong pulse throbbing there
Beat with low rhythm our inland air.

More often than not, Gram would read to me in her kitchen. The aroma of freshly baked bread filled the air and I always was given a cookie with my poem, sometime two (or three). Best of all, I knew Gram loved me, loved me lost. It’s no wonder why I fell in love with books, with words, with poetry.



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