Saturday, January 01, 2011

You Are Old...

For me, the last week of the year is marked not just by Christmas and New Years, but a birthday, so January 1 is the beginning of my new year in a literal way. I have seen quite a number of new years, it seems. I was recently remembering a Golden Book of poems and riddles my parents bought for me when I was little more than a toddler. I had a lot of books when I was a kid. My parents bought them for me long before I could read, for which bless you, parents. This little Golden Book was one of my favorites, and I can still recite parts of it to this day. For instance: “What did the old woman say when she looked down the rain barrel?” Answer: OICURMT (It took me years to figure out what Oicurmt meant). But the part I loved the most was a poem by Lewis Carroll. I enjoyed it enough to memorize when I was a little girl. I still remember it, and as the years pass, it means more to me now than it ever did. In fact, it has become one of my guiding philosophies. Enjoy, and have a happy 2011.

"You are old, father William," the young man said,
"And your hair has become very white;
And yet you incessantly stand on your head
Do you think, at your age, it is right?

"In my youth," father William replied to his son,
"I feared it might injure the brain;
But, now that I'm perfectly sure I have none,
Why, I do it again and again."

"You are old," said the youth, "as I mentioned before,
And you have grown most uncommonly fat;
Yet you turned a back-somersault in at the door
Pray what is the reason for that?"

"In my youth," said the sage, as he shook his grey locks,
"I kept all my limbs very supple
By the use of this ointment one shilling a box
Allow me to sell you a couple?"

"You are old," said the youth, "and your jaws are too weak
For anything tougher than suet;
Yet you finished the goose, with the bones and the beak
Pray, how did you manage to do it?"

"In my youth," said his father, "I took to the law,
And argued each case with my wife;
And the muscular strength, which it gave to my jaw,
Has lasted the rest of my life."

"You are old," said the youth, "one would hardly suppose
That your eye was as steady as ever;
Yet you balanced an eel on the end of your nose
What made you so awfully clever?"

"I have answered three questions, and that is enough,"
Said his father. "Don't give yourself airs!
Do you think I can listen all day to such stuff?
Be off, or I'll kick you down stairs.

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