Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Pillow Hill

just something pretty for the long days of  January
I was preparing to add a new poem by Robert Louis Stevenson to our roster of memory work. I had seen the title In the Land of Counterpane many times as I thumb through books on poetry, but had not stopped to really read the poem before. As I began the first two lines to myself, I had the distinct feeling I had heard these lines before.

When I was sick and lay abed,
I had two pillows at my head

I stopped and read them again, racking my brain for why their words rang so commonly in my mind. I recited it again and again, trying to remember.
Then suddenly the cadence broke through. I knew where I had heard these lines and some of what follows.
Father Bear.
Reciting it to a sick Little Bear as he lay in his small wooden bed.
I repeated the lines again, this time with Father Bear's distinct bassy voice ringing in my ear.
But what episode?
I knew it in a flash.
Pillow Hill
Of course, because that is what Stevenson called his sick bed in the poem.

I was the giant great and still
That sits upon the pillow-hill

I was thrilled with my discovery.
My motherhood has been saturated with Little Bear. Although I cannot recall exactly, Little Bear was most likely one of the first dvds ever purchased for Seth in what has became our now burgeoning dvd library. The accompanying music was enjoyable, even after the hundredth time played. The characters are consistent and delightful, the plots engaging without overly moralizing.
And now to know that the creators of the program oft-times took their writing muse from classic poetry is just the icing on the cake.

So when the time came for Seth to read the poem that I had copied onto the white card, I told him, and Laura who was listening in as usual during our Morning Time, to see if they recognized where they had heard these words before. I think I slipped and gave them a hint and said from something on tv, but the unbidden hint didn't help Seth anyway. It was Laura who after hearing the first few lines read exclaimed, "Little Bear!"
But neither of them could remember the episode name, so I showed them where it was in the poem and we had a good little talk about it.

How wonderful it was to have a connection to the poem. It was as if Father Bear had ushered us up to Robert Louis Stevenson and quietly introduced us to him with a friendly how-do-you-do, I have a dear old friend I'd like you to meet.

Connections are so satisfying,  Connections seem to say, I've been here before, let me remember the road I took.  

Karen Glass is emphatic in her book, Consider This: Charlotte Mason and the Classical Tradition, "All knowledge is connected."  And lest we doubt her, she continues that "none of us understands the interconnectedness of knowledge until we develop those relationships for ourselves." (p.39)  
And when we do make these connections, we cannot help but feel the delight.

And all my toys beside me lay, 
To keep me happy all the day.

1 comment:

  1. The Land of Counterpane is a poem we memorised years ago - the 'pillow hill' is one of those very visual phrases that sticks in your mind. It is exciting when the connections are made - almost bizarrely at times - makes them all the more interesting than trying to work it all out ourselves.


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