..in my mind flows rivers of philosophy, their banks expel on paper through poetry..
My parents enjoyed traveling and doing outdoorsy things when I was a little girl. I wasn’t always privy to their adventures purely because I didn’t take much interest in chilling with the parentals. I always insisted that I be brought back an offering whenever they ventured far and wide. Initially I was presented with toys and little novelties. Souvenirs and trinkets. As the years progressed so too did my requests. I wanted books now. Stories and encyclopedias. Poetry and how-to books. They never brought me back books on poetry. Always stories and such. I did not know what I was missing but indulged in my current trove nonetheless.
My dad had a twin brother and he was a hoot. He would put woopy cushions on seats at the Christmas lunch table. He always had a joke on hand and had a disgustingly infectious smile. So too did my dad. Ear to ear with closing eyes. Most say I have inherited this toothy smile. I wear it with pride. So! The twin brothers and their wives were making arrangements for their next adventure. My dad knew that he had to bring back some sort of literary sacrifice for me. That was a given. But this time my uncle popped his head into my room and cheerfully asked if he could bring me back anything. I requested a book of poetry. He laughed and asked if I was serious. A little 9 year old making poetic demands as opposed to doll requests. I didn’t want my favourite uncle to think me a wet blanket so I added a cushion to my request. A colouful cushion with Goofy and Pluto on it. Very specific. I loved them. He tossed a tiny chocolate at me and said that it shall be done. I paid it no mind and went about my reading.
They returned from their vacation with sun-kissed skin and refreshed sentiments. A safari it was. My mom wore a khaki hat over her mass of curly, black hair and I chuckled. She looked cartoonish, whimsical and happy. My dad was chewing on a huge stick of gamey biltong and they started to unpack their findings. I waited for my offering to surface, careful not to ask lest my father deem me impatient. Surely Uncle must have remembered and left it with them for me to find. Eventually I am handed a bag of presents. Delicious presents! A blue cushion with Pluto and Goofy on it. Check. I squished it and tossed it to the side. A little handbag of bits and bobs. Lotions, soaps and sweet smelling perfumes. Acceptable. A t-shirt with a lion on it… … Understandable but not wearable. Then finally. Below the stash. A swampy-green hard covered book. A little larger than A4. It was called Treasury of Poetry and I adored it immediately. The cover had a little girl playing in a meadow shrouded by a rainbow. The pages were smothered in delightful drawings and verbose stanzas of poems. I had finally received my portal to prose. My greatest and most earnest request. My introduction to flowery written word. Never before had I felt such deep, sincere emotion for a non-living thing. Never before had I loved my uncle more than I did right there. This book will shape my manner of communication. This book will alter how I convey emotion. This book was my most prized possession. Until my nephew ripped it to shreds several years later…