Wednesday, April 29, 2015

on happily ever after

I wish I wish with all of my might
On the first star I see tonight
That I might have
oh could it ever be
"happily ever after"
come true for me


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Remember this nonsense poem from Grade School,  elaborate portrayals of this short poem were something for the third graders to look forward to at the school I attended, where the fourth graders  all decked out in home made costumes and carrying paper guitars presented it before a  large blue curtain completed with a cardboard boat and a huge glittered moon that hung over head, all were saved from year to year.  The fortunate kids, presumably those who couldn't remember the lines got to  rock the large cardboard waves back and forth at the front of the stage. 
Costuming was up to the parents and could be lavish or simple, but was always entertaining.  Notable were a pirate owl and a the turkey portrayed by a girl wearing a huge feathered hat and a Minister's collar.

Recently a friend mentioned this poem and that started me rambling through the chaotic filing cabinet of my brain.  Never I did think this was just a nonsense poem for children, I always felt it had a much deeper meaning, just not sure what.   After finding a suitably grown up video version, oh yes, the piggy does shed some blood when the ring is removed from his nose, and when that was pointed out to me, I began to look even more closely at  the poem.   Could be likened to the looking for hidden meanings in Beatles song lyrics we did in High School, to make English class more "relevant". 

With that in mind I wondered, what if this poem is really about the love.
The love between two people that despite their difference and, to the wonderment of others, have flourishing relationships.   People who are drawn together by their differences, and respect one another for that reason.  Not the typical "happily ever after" couple, but people who seem to be mismatched.  It's just a thought.

Pondering further, could the meaning be something like taking life as it comes and just putting one foot in front of the other is the secret to happiness?  The owl and the pussycat are proficient at making do; they wrap honey and money in more money, and go on sailing for a year, the find a ring and a minister on an island,  dance the night away in celebration, and they "ate with a runcible spoon;" which according to the Wikipedia strongly resembles a grapefruit spoon, a meal of ground mystery meat and a very tart apple like fruit.

Finding happiness and love, or letting happiness and love find you, just might be easier than one might think.  Perhaps the poem is telling us that we make our happiness, our own contentment, when we are at ease with ourselves and not struggling for "perfection".

Then may-be it is just a poem , memorable words that roll off the tongue.  



By Edward Lear 1812–1888 Edward Lear
I
The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
   In a beautiful pea-green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
   Wrapped up in a five-pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
   And sang to a small guitar,
"O lovely Pussy! O Pussy, my love,
    What a beautiful Pussy you are,
         You are,
         You are!
What a beautiful Pussy you are!"

II
Pussy said to the Owl, "You elegant fowl!
   How charmingly sweet you sing!
O let us be married! too long we have tarried:
   But what shall we do for a ring?"
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
   To the land where the Bong-Tree grows
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
   With a ring at the end of his nose,
             His nose,
             His nose,
   With a ring at the end of his nose.

III
"Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
   Your ring?" Said the Piggy, "I will."
So they took it away, and were married next day
   By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
   Which they ate with a runcible spoon;   
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
   They danced by the light of the moon,
             The moon,
             The moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.
Source: The Random House Book of Poetry for Children (1983)

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