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Subjunctives for my Daughter and Son
by Dr. Lawrence Nannery
2014-01-05 13:35:40
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For you two I would ever, if I could ever, be:
The wind in the willows, the trumpet of the swan,
All things fabulous yet true;
The refreshing Zephyr that brings in the Spring,
And the joy in the throat of the sparrow
When he lifts his song to the sky so blue.

For you two my voice should ever be:
The chimes at midnight, waking, curative,
The chimes of all times, working…
The rhymes of all climes, that incandesce
And irridesce and effervesce
Till the boisterous noise of our caravan
Makes of all the world a floatation device, every thing a toy.

If we three were together, we could be:
Thoroughly whirly, low woodwinds blowing,
Madcap stones skipping over waters. …
We could confect each day as a frolic, parade
On sleighrides and ponyrides and waterslides;
Rise and glide on the giant strides of wild titanotheres;
Look and sigh in the inky eyes of octopi.

I would guide you too, to:
The effortless arcs of swallows,
The chitterings of the dolphins ―
Their scalloping deep-sea leaps ― 
How otters jellyroll inside their skins,
The marching twaddle of mother duckies,
The sour pouts of guppies, the snuffles of helpless puppies,
And the soundless mouths of dangerous sea creatures
Who menace in the deep.

I would foment wonder,
Witness your genius for ingenious play.
Observe: worms that squirm and whelps that yelp,
Owls’ ogling swivelheads, the businesses of Mister Busy Bee.
Play ping pong with King Kong, listen for
The barks of sharks, the meows of cows, even
Baboons with bassoons, oomphing loony tunes.

The calliope and the roundelay are the places I would be.
I would make your tears run from ferocious swallows
Of cold ice cream; mosey through clouds of cotton candy;
Drool maple syrup, squeal rollercoaster realscreams,
Hooray the sock of the home run ball;
But also, solemnly attend at ritual flowery tea parties,
Where the twirl of a parasol measures alluring motions
In the purity of heart that embroiders dollhouse days.
We could suck on succulent honeysuckle,
Smell the sweet smell of horses, or the linger of lilac,
Or the bitter prick of burnt firecracker.

With you I would make a foray in the loup-de-loup
Of racing cars, or bumping cars
(Or the sight of Mars, among the stars!).
We could stutterstep to the whoop-de-whoop
Of sealion honks, shouting out loud who we are,
Making me the jongleur of permanent day,
And the two of you the sentiment of May.

Through all seasons how alive are we!
As we dress up like dogs with long floppy ears,
Make figure eights in our new roller skates,
Galumph on the humps of snorkel-necked camels,
Watch pretty sunsets all pink and blue (like you);
And listen for the breezes in the trees,
The endless drum of ocean rollers, the whirlworld
Of squalls in the sky, the infinity in the conch;
And perpend the unbelievable travels of Santa Claus,
His motiveless generosity.

Together we could dream the future love of loveydoves
In the faint throbs of fireflies, who dot the orange
Of dying summer sunsets that linger so mellow
Under the slow closing lid of the violet eve.
I would be a lap capacious for the two of you,
I would be a cloak always closing out the cold.
I would ever guard your even breathing in peaceful dreams.

Jouncing, barging, revolving in unencumbered song,
From the enveloping velvet of a deep summer’s night,
Flush with the incessant cadence of linnets
Exhaling their excess of life
To that shining midnight in winter,
Where we brush rime from our crystallized eyebrows ―
And the wind in the trees, a hushed suspiration ―
And the cathedral of trees, black planks, bending over us ―
As we stand in wonder under an astonished moon,
Concussed by the beauty of the glowing earth,
Staring at the sight of the new-fallen snow lying plain
Upon the fields, throwing light up to the clouds,
White, in breathless silence, divinely bright
On this deep and holy night.

Although these things may never be,
I wish you children to think of me.
Imagine me a star hidden behind daylight.
See me as a faraway mountain, reposing and proud,
Ruler of distances, a lonely destiny,
Faithfully waiting under unyielding snows, but deeply moved
Within, a gray burning beacon of benevolence denied.

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Emanuel Paparella2014-01-05 17:22:40
Larry, this is a poignant poem which I suppose can be interpreted as a philosophical poem. It got me thinking about the fact that a verb can be conjugated in the past tense (the way it was), the present tense (the way things are now), the future tense (the way things will be later) and of course in the subjunctive (the way they could have been or should be). It sounds like the Christmas story of Scrooge…I suppose the subjunctive is grammatically a bridge of sort between what has been and what is and what could have been or should have been; that is to say, the realm of the ethical. Hermeneutically the way we interpret that nexus determines to a certain extent our future, which also explains the dictum that “those who do not know their history are bound to repeat it.”

Leah Sellers2014-01-06 03:35:34
An Artistically wondrous and wishful Parent/Child Odyssey.
Thank you, Sir.

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