Friday, January 28, 2011

O the snow...

Back when I was about seventh grade, I discovered that I liked poetry but was not sophisticated enough (by a long shot) to appreciate poetry that didn't flow like music or didn't rhyme. I bought my first book of poetry which I still have called "World's Best Loved Poems."

These poems are really patriotic (jingoistic) and some are like little morality plays. That doesn't make them wrong or bad -- and one of them which I've always remembered and still have parts memorized began with O the snow, the beautiful snow...

It begins:

O The snow, the beautiful snow,
Filling the sky and the earth below,
Over the housetops, over the street,
Over the heads of people you meet.
Skimming along,

Beautiful snow! It can do no wrong.

It goes on for a few more stanzas about the beautiful snow until we get to the morality part... "Once I was pure as the snow, but I fell, fell like the snowflakes from Heaven to hell..."

And so it goes. Girl gone wild. Nice girls did, even at the time of the Civil War when this poem was written (by a man).

I hadn't thought of this book of poetry in a while, but about a week ago I was watching Celebrity Ghost Stories where ... well, this is fairly obvious, but a celebrity relates some ghostly encounter. This celebrity was a woman named Gabrielle Something and she was on Beverly Hill 90210. She spoke of her special relationship she had with her grandfather and their "thing" was a poem that they used to read to each other and this poem they shared is also in my book.

Here's a typical stanza:

Let me live in a house by the side of the road
Where the race of men go by-
The men who are good and the men who are bad,
As good and as bad as I.
I would not sit in the scorner's seat
Nor hurl the cynic's ban-
Let me live in a house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

The grandfather dies, and a few years later her daughter and she were cuddling and all of a sudden the daughter starts whispering this poem into Gabrielle's ear -- who, of course, was stunned since she'd never shared the poem with her daughter but eventually thought it was this wonderful thing.

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