My mother did not have good reading skills and as a child she frequently told me “If you can read you can go anywhere, do anything.” She instilled a love of reading in me at a very early age.
Many times she would ask me to read aloud to her. She especially loved poetry. Life being what it is I seldom found the time when I lived home to read to her. One of her favorite books she would like to be read to from was 101 Famous Poems. I still own her original leather bound copy. I remember reading to her when she was in the nursing home, before she passed away. One evening I was reading aloud to her “The Highwayman” by Alfred Noyes. The author, using onomatopoeia, wrote “tlot, tlot” as the sound of the horse’s hooves on the highway. I remember I was making clip clop sounds trying to imitate the sound he intended, trying to sound like the guy with the two coconuts in the Monty Python movie. I had read this poem to her many times and could never pronounce tlot, tlot satisfactorily.
Unbeknownst to me a few people had gathered outside the door to her room and were listening. If one knows the poem, one knows it doesn’t exactly have a “pick you right up” ending. The heroine dies to save her hero, who in turn dies trying to rescue her. It also has that great line “When the moon is a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas”. When I was finished I heard a muffled sob and turned to see my small audience. I was a little embarrassed, but happy the I had managed to capture what the author must have intended, an emotional reaction from the audience. Check out the poem…it’s a real classic.
Submitted by GPL staff member, Kathy.