Tuesday, February 5, 2008

i carry your heart with me by e. e. cummings

i carry your heart with me

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)

i fear
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)
--e. e. cummings

I was looking for a heart poem for today, and came across this one by E. E. Cummings. Someone writing about it said, "The poem could almost be called a sonnet. It has nearly the right number of lines in nearly the right combination. But, typical of a Cummings poem, it goes its own direction and does so with great effect." I think that's a good description.

I haven't posted much by Cummings, though he's a very famous poet. Some people are confused by his experiments with (or without) punctuation and capitalization, but I think I understand. It's hard to punctuate a poem. Very often, you're not using complete sentences, just thoughts or phrases strung together. By abandoning the typographical conventions that go with prose, he's making it clear that what he's writing is not prose. I think it's kind of cool.

We finally got to see a cardiologist about Elizabeth's heart murmur today. She had an echocardiogram done at the hospital, but I've had a hard time getting anyone to tell me what the results were. I thought that my appointment today was to have somebody finally tell me about it, but the doctor was surprised to hear that it had been done, and certainly didn't have a copy. At any rate, they did an EKG and another Echo today, and told me the results immediately. It seems that Elizabeth has 3 holes in her heart. The first, called Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA) is so tiny they wouldn't measure it because any number she came up with would be inaccurate. The second, called Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO) is about 3 mm across -- the doctor says that's small. These first two holes exist in all babies before they're born and close within the first days or weeks of life in most babies. For many though, they persist for a while and cause few or no symptoms until they close on their own. We probably wouldn't have noticed them if they weren't looking closely because of the third.

The third, the one that's causing the murmur, is called a Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD). It lets blood move from the left ventricle to the right, when they shouldn't be mixing at all. The doctor tells me that this hole is "very small" (1.5 mm) and since it's down low in the muscular area, it'll most likely close on its own too.

The baby was very patient with the whole proceedings today. She slept for the hour they had us sit in the waiting room (I'm pretty sure they told all the morning patients to come for a 10:00 appointment, and hoped they'd get done with all of us by noon). Then she quietly submitted to the EKG -- where they pretty much covered her with electrode stickers and wires, then only complained a little when they pulled them all off. She was annoyed to be stripped naked and put down on the hard flat surface of the scale to be weighed and measured, but calmed down again when I held her and put her diaper back on. I gave her a quick feeding while we waited another 20 minutes for the doctor, so she was pretty contented for the echocardiogram (which is pretty much an ultrasound of the heart), sucking on a pacifier and holding my fingers so she wouldn't wiggle and bump the technician.

Elizabeth has no symptoms other than the murmur. She doesn't turn blue when she cries, have trouble breathing, get listless, or have any trouble gaining weight (she's put on a full pound since she was born). Both my Pediatrician and the Cardiologist say that these are nothing to worry about, and will probably fix themselves, but we should keep an eye on them just to make sure. This makes me feel very secure.

It's almost scary to have a baby as perfect as Elizabeth. She eats well, is gaining weight, sleeps astonishingly well (she only wakes me up once at night, eats, and goes right back to sleep), and is pleasant all day -- hardly fussing at all. She's also universally acknowledged to be the most beautiful baby anybody has ever seen. If there has to be something wring, I'm glad that it's as simple as this.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

My Native Land by Sir Walter Scott

My Native Land

Breathes there the man, with soul so dead,
Who never to himself hath said,
This is my own, my native land!
Whose heart hath ne'er within him burn'd,
As home his footsteps he hath turn'd
From wandering on a foreign strand!
If such there breathe, go, mark him well;
For him no Minstrel raptures swell;
High though his titles, proud his name,
Boundless his wealth as wish can claim;
Despite those titles, power, and pelf,
The wretch, concentred all in self,
Living, shall forfeit fair renown,
And, doubly dying, shall go down
To the vile dust, from whence he sprung,
Unwept, unhonour'd, and unsung.
--Sir Walter Scott

This poem, or actually the last five lines of it, were quoted in the movie Groundhog Day, which Peter and I watched yesterday (for obvious reasons). I've always liked this movie, and I think it suffered from a poor advertising campaign. I thought they should have said something like, "See Groundhog Day Again!"

I remember that Mom was especially impressed with this movie as well. Something about it matched up with something she was reading in the Koran at the time (she was majoring in Religion/Judaic and Near Eastern Studies at Oberlin College). I think he went through some stages of enlightenment or something. Anyway, she thought it was so significant that she had us watch the movie in Seminary as some kind of object lesson. You can see how successful she was at getting her point across -- sorry Mom, it was 5 in the morning, and even I didn't pay attention all the time.

Well, the baby's crying to be fed, and it's hard to keep typing with just my left hand while she eats on the right side, so I'll stop here.

Friday, February 1, 2008

I Know That My Redeemer Lives by Gordon B. Hinckley

I Know That My Redeemer Lives

I know that my Redeemer lives,
Triumphant Savior, Son of God,
Victorious over pain and death,
My King, my Leader, and my Lord.

He lives, my one sure rock of faith,
The one bright hope of men on earth,
The beacon to a better way,
The light beyond the veil of death.

Oh, give me thy sweet Spirit still,
The peace that comes alone from thee,
The faith to walk the lonely road
That leads to thine eternity.
--Gordon B. Hinckley

What could be a better way to end this week's tribute to President Hinckley, than to post his own testimony in verse? I don't think I had really looked at the structure of this poem before. I've sung it, of course (it's #135 in the hymn book), but I've never really looked at it.

The rhyme scheme is very loose -- the second and fourth lines of each verse theoretically rhyme -- but with pairs like God/Lord or earth/death it's more assonance than rhyme. He uses alliteration several times in the poem, and parallelism in his sentence structure. One thing I notice is that though it's obviously composed, it's also very natural sounding. He didn't feel the need to hit you over the head with a heavy rhythm or obvious rhymes. Thinking about it, that seems to fit his personality.