In those moments between asleep and awake,
with dreams still sweet upon our tongues,
their fragrance lingering in our minds,
that is the time to decide if we are
dreaming awake or dreaming asleep,
and whether we want to keep our dreams,
make them manifest in our awakening,
or let them drift away unchosen.
If we awaken from – or into –
a nightmare, we are left with
the same choices.
We must choose well, especially with
those dreams that come
when we are awake.
Sarasponda ret set set
Sarasponda ret set set.
A doray-oh, A doray boomday-oh
A doray-boomday ret set set
Ah-say pah-say oh.
Remember the Sarasponda song? Apparently, I do. I learned it forty years ago when I spent a week at Camp Kiwanilong as a camp counselor for a bunch of 5th graders.
“Outdoor School” at Camp Kiwanilong was everything one could hope for in a nature educational experience. Forested trails, a lake for canoeing, wildlife; and sleeping cabins without heat, lights or any other amenities other than rough wooden bunk beds (for keeping one’s sleeping bag off the floor; no mattresses).
There was nothing fancy about the main lodge, either. It consisted of two rooms: a no-frills kitchen with Paul Bunyan sized griddles for cooking up a ton of food at once; and a dining room with two long wooden tables that spanned the length of the room, and benches on either side of the tables. A deep fireplace covered the wall between the kitchen and dining room and served as an ersatz fire pit when it was too rainy to be outdoors.
We held outdoor classes in the daytime, and in the evenings, we played games, put on skits, and sang camp songs. No internet, no cell phones. You know, the (almost) dark ages.
Hence, I learned Sarasponda. It’s a favorite around-the-campfire tune, as it has all the requisite qualities: (a) the words are repetitive and easy to learn; (b) it can be sung in rounds; and (c) it’s nonsensical, even before one attempts singing it with a mouth glued shut by marshmallows.
So, here it is forty-odd years since my camp counselor stint. I haven’t sung or heard Sarasponda sung in the interim, nor even thought about it until this morning, when I woke up with the song running through my head.
It’s not like I’d been dreaming of dingy cabins, stinky-damp socks, or even dingy-stinky-damp 5th graders. It was just there, in my head, between should-I-mow-the-lawn-today and I’ll-have-cold-brew-instead-of-hot-coffee-this-morning. What kind of mental blip put it there, I don’t know.
It’s evening now, and the song is still here. I’m craving s’mores and wood smoke. I’m getting ready to go to bed on my comfy mattress in my warm, dry, lighted bedroom. No wildlife here, just an old dog snoring, a young dog twitching in his dreams, and a cat warming up for his nightly bout of climbing the walls.
But okay, before I retire for the evening, here’s to the good ol’ times at Camp Kiwanilong:
Sarasponda, sarasponda, sarasponda ret set set
Day 30, the final day of the month, and the final day of NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month). After today, the goal will be to keep the creativity flowing. We’ll see how that goes.
I’d like you to try your hand at a minimalist poem, … a poem that is quite short, and that doesn’t really try to tell a story, but to quickly and simply capture an image or emotion.
So, here goes. Don’t blink! (Hey, that could be a minimalist poem right there!)
Remember that day when…
Yes, that one.
Day 29 of NaPoWriMo. The prompt, edited for succinctness:
For poet William Wordsworth, a poem was the calm after the storm – an opportunity to remember and summon up emotion, but at a time and place that allowed the poet to calmly review, direct and control those feelings. A somewhat similar concept is expressed through the tradition of philosophically-inclined poems explicitly labeled as “meditations,” …
Today, I’d like to challenge you to blend these concepts into your own work, by producing a poem that meditates, from a position of tranquility, on an emotion you have felt powerfully.
Not completely on prompt, but this is what I came up with:
Meditation on Dispassion
When finding oneself in the disposition of
being where one does not belong, or perhaps of
not belonging where one finds oneself,
it might be of consequence for one to ponder
how that circumstance came to be.
If, for example, one is where one does not belong
due to a displacement of some nature, one might enquire as to
what compulsion or energy caused such an event,
and whether it is a permanent condition, or whether
one might best prepare for subsequent supplantations.
Alternatively, if one does not belong where
one finds oneself, one may have merely been misplaced,
and may therefore be inclined to wonder
what careless entity committed such a dismissive act,
and whether one might perchance some day
in some manner attain one’s proper placement.
It is imperative, however, that one never allow
one’s emotions to surface and escape their
carefully fabricated confines,
lest one come to realize that the
feeling of not belonging where one finds oneself
is – in fact — excruciatingly painful.