There sat my motherWith the harp against her shoulderLooking nineteenAnd not a day older,A smile about her lips,And a light about her head,And her hands in the harp-stringsFrozen dead.
Since I was lucky enough to become a grandma (thank you DIL!) I’m always searching for new and interesting books to tempt Angel Boy 2.0 and his voracious appetite for words and pictures and language. One of my favorite photos was of AB 2.0 at around two months looking intently at AB 1.0 while he read a story. We swear he was paying attention. Maybe/maybe not, but we like to think so.
I went to our local library where they have a store staffed by volunteers and always find great books-sadly some never even cracked open-and grabbed an armful.
I parked myself in a little child-sized chair and briefly skimmed through my treasures. I found a book by one of my son’s favorite authors, James Herriot, who wrote All Creatures Great and Small and Moses the Kitten, along with about a dozen other really good stories, mostly about animals (my personal interests shining through).
Somehow, though, this book slipped by…
The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver by Edna St. Vincent Millay, illustrated by Beth Peek.
Visually stunning, I anticipated a lovely illustrated poem that Theo would enjoy, but waited until I had already driven home to fully read this one.
UH OH, thank goodness I read it first and I’m even more grateful that Theo can’t read at all.
I know I initially read it in high school, because as soon as I saw this page, the horror I had initially felt–returned.
A bedtime story? I think not. Not unless you want to seed some traumatic nightmares! I can’t imagine what kind of positive life lesson there could be here, can you?
I didn’t remember that it ended with the mom dying, having sacrificed her life for her son, and it’s not even that I DISAGREE with that concept because I believe a good parent should place her/his needs beneath those of the innocents we bring into this universe, BUT the guilt trip that little guy will most likely endure isn’t an equivalent value for having his loving mother ALIVE.
No wonder it appeared that this book looked as if it had never been touched.
The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver