Thursday, May 01, 2008

Boot and Saddle

I love 'Salina's teacher this year. In fact, she is so wonderful, she even has "Love" in her name.

This term, the children are all involved in Thursday morning presentations. As they are split into two groups, every second week she will have to either Chair, tell a joke or riddle, give a newsletter report, book report, local news report, recite a poem or do the memory tray.

Today, she is to recite a poem. This thrills me, because I am the sort of dork who used to voluntarily stand in front of a roomful of strangers and recite poetry.

In fact, I am the sort of dork who has always dreamed great dreams rather than nightmares about standing up in front of people and presenting. Give me a podium and the confidence I feel is a thrill, a buzz from the adrenal rush of fear, joyous and pushing that fear down to become my "bounce bubble" that I love to launch forth with on whatever subject or speech I am offered.

I know that is weird, especially considering I am absolutely petrified of holding small talk amongst a crowd or one on one to people I don't know very well. I never said I was normal.

So anyhow, we had to look for a poem for her to recite. She only had one stipulation, which was there were to be horses involved.

After ploughing through some weird ones that didn't scan (okay for the avante garde - not the average 8 year old's delight), some pretty ones that went on and on over many a hill and plain, some dark ones (it seems that heroin and death are two favoured marriages with horses in the minds of the poets) until we finally found one very hearty and stirring one she could really get a kick out of reciting - which as a "poetry mum" was a huge bonus for me.

Here is the chosen offering:

Boot and Saddle

Boot, saddle, to horse, and away!
Rescue my Castle, before the hot day
Brightens the blue from its silvery grey,

(Chorus) "Boot, saddle, to horse, and away!"

Ride past the suburbs, asleep as you'd say;
Many's the friend there, will listen and pray
"God's luck to gallants that strike up the lay,

(Chorus) "Boot, saddle, to horse, and away!"

Forty miles off, like a roebuck at bay,
Flouts Castle Brancepeth the Roundheads array:
Who laughs, Good fellows ere this, by my fay,

(Chorus) "Boot, saddle, to horse, and away!"

Who? My wife Gertrude; that, honest and gay,
Laughs when you talk of surrendering, "Nay!
I've better counsellors; what counsel they?"

(Chorus) "Boot, saddle, to horse, and away!"

Robert Browning

She loved it, because you can really get the crowd - sorry, classmates - involved in the rollicking chorus!

Of course, being 'Salina, she had to create some props for it - she made a hospital tent, a stretcher complete with bearers and patient and a helicopter.

I explained to her that, unfortunately, the English Civil War in the 1600s didn't have the blessing of helicopters and we had a few teaching moments before school in what entailed going to war during those days. No automatic guns, no satellites for surveillance, no telephones or television coverage - just up close and personal guts and - well, not a great deal of glory, more gory.

"So, did they take the horses on the boats to get to the war?" asked 'Salina.

"They were fighting their own countrymen." I explained. "Sort of like if there was a fight in Bigtown and they had to saddle up and ride in and fight. Or maybe the bad guys were out at Granite Glen and they had sent a pigeon to ask for help and a group were going to gallop over."

'Salina pondered that for a bit.

We then had a re-enactment of someone telling his family he was going to fight the baddies and actually ended up cracking ourselves up with voices and silly conversations.

"But why would they go and fight, Mum?" she asked.

A long and involved discussion about politics and society of the 1600s ensued right up until bus time.

Do you know, as intense as it is, I am loving this no television punishment we have going!!


david santos said...

Hello, Jeanie!
Thanks for your posting and have a good day.

Debby said...

I'm glad that the 'discipline' is turning into some real quality time for the both of you. I hope that you feel better about it all.

Julie Pippert said...

I love her choice!

You enjoyed and voluntarily recited poetry to people.

That rocks.

I preferred the chair in the corner, a good lamp and a I'd make a very appreciative audience. :)

Alison said...

Fabulous choice!
Great morning conversations, too. No television is so kewl, huh?

BB said...

Sounds wonderful... everyone should know that you are an amazing poet yourself. And were always a performer (Alexander Beetle was an early highlight).

I'm going to start a chant for you to post some of your work!



Debby said...

We want Jeanie verse.

We want Jeanie verse.

jeanie said...

Hello David - that was quick - I hadn't even seen the post at that point!!

Julie - its either chair in a corner and book OR up front and perform - no middle ground.

Alison and Deb - the pronoia thing really works - life gets BETTER when you have been punished!

BushBabe and Deb - ahh, you can tell you haven't been around many poets of late because you have forgotten the golden rule - never ask a poet to perform, because SHE WILL... Muahahahahaha.

Jayne said...

Love the poem :)

Hilary said...

That's a gorgeous story. One of those special mother/daughter moments. And I don't think you're weird for liking the stage and not one-on-one. I think people are one or the other. I used to work with a girl who never said boo in the office, whispered on the phone, but I took her somewhere in my car once and I couldn't get a word in edgeways. I was gob-smacked.

Kyla said...

You dream of public speaking? I know I just did it this week, but it is still not on my "dreams" list. LOL!

Great choice!

Maude Lynn said...

Love the poem choice. I bet the kids did have a lot of fun with the chorus!

Now, hit us with some verse!