“’Let me read to us,’ he said. He thumbed through the little volume of Longfellow’s poems…and read from Endymion:
“’…O drooping souls, whose destinies are frought with fear and pain, ye shall be loved again!
No one is so accursed by fate, no one so utterly but some heart, though unknown, responds unto his own.
Responds, as if with unseen wings, an angel touched its quivering strings; and whispers, in its song, ‘Where hast thou stayed so long?’…”
“…For so many years I thought that no heart would ever respond to my own…and for you to read aloud to me is such a lavish gift; it’s above all I could ever ask or think…”
~ Father Timothy, in Jan Karon’s Light From Heaven
She began, I think, the week I had the measles.
In dim light, because my eyes could not tolerate the bright, she opened a volume and poured forth story and character and grace upon my pillowed head.
Lids closed, I listened and heard the voices… in her voice. Saw the lonely, the joyous, the gray and the rainbowed skies through her empathy or lilting tones.
Or, in later years, when I was heavy-lidded from tomes of history and science and English literature assigned, she read to me for pure enjoyment my own eyes did not seem to have time to linger upon. Had temporarily lost the energy to consume on my own.
One I remember as character and word rich, filled us both with sprawling tale like a classic old black and white. Telling the story of a small child through her last elderly whisp of days… all the sorrows and joys, the lost and the found days of her life. A treasure from Mom’s mail away book club… A Prologue to Love, by Taylor Caldwell.
And as I recollect, I go to my shelves, finger over volumes until I find it. Coverless, but still in good shape… beckoning me back to it’s pages.
I want to close my eyes…and hear her…again.
I think too, of her eyes, as I draw the sharp and gentle lines of houses these days.
Houses I know she’d love.
I recall how she used to stand over my shoulder and watch me paint… taking her own joy. Only, it made me nervous…though shyly proud…then…
I hear her voice, see her eyes brighten, in a young woman at the print shop yesterday who enthusiastically takes my original pen and ink to copy… tells me, “It’s so fun to see these each time you come in…” — because she finds joy in the creative too, having seen and helped me to enlarge the photos I work from…
And I want to see that look…
To learn and hear by heart…
through Mom’s eyes…
In looking at stories created in art… in holding the words of a writer on her tongue so I could behold another’s.
O, to be there… listening…again.
And, I wonder… are you learning Heaven’s library by heart now, Mom? Finding and holding a jewel to share… on another day?
© Pam Depoyan
Recently, in something I was googling, I came across a blog based on the joys one bygone author brought to a young man… I have read a bit, and loving what I read, commented there. Then, found myself chatting a bit more about this kind of word and writer love with the blog host. This post reminds me… you might enjoy a little hop over there yourselves:
Especially those of you with a love for the United Kingdom or classic children’s stories… I love when I find someone so enchanted by storytelling… particularly of the British, Scottish or Irish kind… 🙂
Has someone brought a new joy in story to you through reading to you?
Or you to them?
writing simply for five minutes on her
one word prompt: AGAIN
and Imperfect Prose at Emily Wierenga’s place
- http://www.google.com/imgre (Little Women, Jessie Willcox Smith)