Skin in the game

It’s been a quiet week. I have a new nickname-Crash. Thanks Patsy. Yes I was in a hurry and no there was no alcohol involved. I “bounded”, sylph-like off a low concrete wall in my car park and did a flying leap into the concrete. I was wearing my glasses and they have graduated lenses so I’m using that as an excuse. Unfortunately I broke them as well as my watch.

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I looked a bit of a wreck but I am amazed at the properties of skin. I suppose that sounds really naive but horrible grazes and bruises have pretty much healed up over a week. Pride of course takes a little longer.

I have enjoyed painting a cabinet, hosting book club and have started knitting more frequently again. I have just finished The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George. It was an easy, fun read and it got me all fired up about taking a canal trip in France. Anyone keen?

Friday is National Poetry Day so there are lots of events on around Auckland. I’m going to hear some readers at Point Chevalier Library on Saturday.

It got me browsing my poetry books and I came upon a book belonging to my late husband, Brett Gracie. He was an English teacher like me and loved poetry. The book was by Hone Tuwhare  and in 1998, by chance Hone was coming to Christchurch to do a reading and I was responsible for hosting him at home. Sam was 6 years old at the time and Hone signed Brett’s book for Sam. Finding that tonight and seeing Brett’s familiar signature and then the little inscription to Sam was quite poignant.

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As it seems to be raining so much I picked this short one to include in this post. His other poem Rain is probably his most read poem but I like this one, especially the line, “can bring a mountain weeping to its knees”

Reign Rain
Neither juggernaut
man
nor crawling thing
with saintliness and ease

can bring
a mountain weeping
to its knees
quicker than rain:

that demure leveller
ocean-blessed
cloud-sent
maker of plains

Hone Tuwhare

I remember hearing Hone say how magical it was as a little boy discovering the library . He couldn’t believe that he could just go in and choose books for free. Recently, a young teen living with her family in a van in South Auckland was on national radio saying she really wanted to get out library books but didn’t have an address.

Every now and then the ugly head of charging for library books raises its head. May it never happen. As a child in a family of 8 there would have been no way that I would have been able to read as a child without a library. To this day I can tell you exactly what the covers of the books I loved looked like: My Friend Flicker, The Yellow Fairy Book, Cammie Rides Again, Quarrelsome Queenie and on it goes. There was nothing tame about these stories. I would weep and snivel and fear the dark forests and the evil just around the corner. there was nothing tame about the faraway tree.  Apparently I cried when my mother was reading Noddy. It was probably those naughty goblins.

Mind you I was never keen on that monkey or the skittles. They might have been the precursors to my terror of clowns.

 

I remember walking down the hill to the library in a funny old Dunedin building with my pink library card and then lugging the books home again. I can only assume that some of my siblings were supervising but I don’t really remember that part. I loved that little machine that clicked and stamped the card with the date. There was always a slight anxiety that I might not get the book back on time and get fined. FG

I do remember being smacked for not listening to my father as I was completely lost in a book. I did it again recently on the ferry. The lovely young steward came up to me and quietly asked me if I was going back in to town. I looked up and everyone else had disembarked and I was still there reading my book. I felt a bit of a twit.

The joy of escaping into a book when all else is crumbling around you is fantastic. Long live libraries and poetry.

 

One thought on “Skin in the game

  1. susan

    Ouch – hope you are back to your gorgeous self by now!

    Living near a library – preferably within walking distance – is a must!

    Reply

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