Saturday, August 16, 2008

Flamingos Don't Fly

Meredith has an illustrated book of Robert Louis Stevenson poems. This morning she brought it to me and asked me to read it. I started reading her Travel.


I should like to rise and go

Where the golden apples grow—

Where below another sky

Parrot islands anchored lie,

And, watched by cockatoos and goats,

Lonely Crusoes building boats—

Where in sunshine reaching out

Eastern cities, miles about,

Are with mosque and minaret

Among sandy gardens set,

And the rich goods from near and far

Hang for sale in the bazaar—

Where the Great Wall round China goes,

And on one side the desert blows,

And with bell and voice and drum,

Cities on the other hum—

Where are forests, hot as fire,

Wide as England, tall as a spire,

Full of apes and coconuts

And the negro hunters’ huts—

Where the knotty crocodile

Lies and blinks in the Nile,

And the red flamingo flies

Hunting fish before his eyes—

[Meredith: “Flamingos DON’T fly!”]

Where in jungles, near and far,

Man-devouring tigers are,

[Meredith, very bothered: “Flamingos DON’T fly! They walk.”]

Lying close and giving ear

[Meredith continues: “I saw it at the zoo! They stand on one leg and then they walk like this (she demonstrates).”]

Lest the hunt be drawing near

[Meredith: “Flamingos DON’T fly, mom!”]

At this point, I gave up reading the rest of the poem.

Robert Louis Stevenson was a great poet but, apparently my three-year-old can’t get past certain glaring inaccuracies.


Today is our church pic-nic! Kevin and I are sort of “in charge.” Last night I pounded countless chicken breasts to marinate for the grill. (How much meat does our church body eat? Hopefully I got enough!) Now I need to go and fill 250 water balloons!! Should be fun! Looks like it’s going to be a beautiful day …


Kevin said...


I guess we'll have to show her this link.

Or this one.

Or this one.

Catherine said...

That's funny! Hannah is bothered by things like that too, and I get bothered by the countless interruptions, so I tell her "it's a literary device" and try to move on. Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn't. :)

Linds said...

I haven't read blogs in awhile and I just got all caught up on yours... and it made me miss you guys!

the Joneses said...

So much for being swept away on the wings of poetry.
But at least you know she was listening.

-- SJ

Anonymous said...

Guess the concept of taking "literary license" is difficult to explain to a 3 year old.