It’s Not All Mary Poppins

This is a love song

A gorgeous sunny autumn day and only two children is the perfect opportunity to a meandering trek to the library. There were leaves to kick, pigeons to chase, rocks to find, and, eventually, a library full of books!

We found a lot of books. Fifteen or twenty will hold us for a week. Maybe.

In our haul was this one.

It’s delightful. Absolutely, utterly delightful. There is nothing I don’t love about this book. I love the illustrations, I love the text, which, after a few pages, I realized is a love poem. I love the way the illustrations expand on the simple words. I even love the cover, which is lightly padded, making it a little cushy under the fingers.

But it’s the words, the lovely, lovely words, which are the core of this book. Listen!

How do I love you?
Let me count the ways.

(Yes, that does sound familiar. I wonder what the rules are on that? Is Browning’s work no longer covered by copyright?)

I love you as the sun
loves the bright blue days.

I love you as the bee
loves a fragrant flower.

I love you as the thirsty duck
loves a sudden shower.

I love you as the bird
loves a song to sing.

I love you as the waking bear
loves the smell of spring.

I love you as the cat
loves a sunny sill.

And as the dancing snowflakes
love the winter’s chill.

How do I love you?
Let me tell you how.

I love you as the next
loves the sturdy bough.

I love you as the sea
loves the sandy shore.

And as the ancient world
loved the dinosaur.

I love you as the wind
loves its own sweet sound.

And as our friendly Earth
loves to spin around.

I love you as the moon
loves each shining star.

I love all that you will be
and everything you are.

Are you sighing? I was. It’s lovely, with so much meaning packed into many of the lines. The sun exists without the blue sky, but each enhances the other. A bee is drawn by instinct and by need, to the flower. The comfort and security the branch offers the nest.

I think it was the page with the bear that finally did it for me. In the picture of the cheery, deeply inhaling bear, I got a sense of expansion that bear must feel, going from that dark, close winter cave into the fresh, bright spring air… and suddenly…

Suddenly I wasn’t thinking of either of the two lovely little bodies cuddled up with me. I wasn’t even thinking of my own wonderful, grown-up kids.

I was thinking of the time after my first marriage ended. When I had just begun the relationship with the man who is now my husband. No, I wasn’t thinking, I was feeling. I was feeling once again that sense of expansion, of growth, of unfolding. The total lack of fear, the security, the respect, the mutuality, the reciprocity… All things that are part of love, things that I’d never really had before.

We’ve been together fourteen years. I am still sometimes struck dumb by the wonder of this relationship, how right we are for each other, how much I love him, how happy, easy, comfortable we are with each other.

It’s all there in this little book. A book expressing the love of a parent for a child?

Yes. And much more.

This is a lovely, lovely book.

Buy a copy for your child .. and another for your significant other.

October 20, 2010 Posted by | books | 3 Comments