Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was right on with his "Joy, Temperance and Repose, Slam the door on the doctor's nose!" What joy and happiness was brought forth tonight reading Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's delightful poem, "The Children's Hour." I saw it last night published on our LI Poetry Forum. Longfellow's wonderful storytelling skills, the exactness of his chosen words, and the imaginative play with his THREE (3!) children, Alice, Allegra, and Edith leave one thirsting for more of this idyllic kind of life! So much imagination, creativity and talent are shown here!
The Children's Hour
By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Between the dark and the daylight,
When the night is beginning to lower,
Comes a pause in the day's occupations,
That is known as the Children's Hour.
I hear in the chamber above me
The patter of little feet,
The sound of a door that is opened,
And voices soft and sweet.
From my study I see in the lamplight,
Descending the broad hall stair,
Grave Alice, and laughing Allegra,
And Edith with golden hair.
A whisper, and then a silence:
Yet I know by their merry eyes
They are plotting and planning together
To take me by surprise.
A sudden rush from the stairway,
A sudden raid from the hall!
By three doors left unguarded
They enter my castle wall!
They climb up into my turret
O'er the arms and back of my chair;
If I try to escape, they surround me;
They seem to be everywhere.
They almost devour me with kisses,
Their arms about me entwine,
Till I think of the Bishop of Bingen
In his Mouse-Tower on the Rhine!
Do you think, O blue-eyed banditti,
Because you have scaled the wall,
Such an old mustache as I am
Is not a match for you all!
I have you fast in my fortress,
And will not let you depart,
But put you down into the dungeon
In the round-tower of my heart.
And there will I keep you forever,
Yes, forever and a day,
Till the walls shall crumble to ruin,
And moulder in dust away!
Einstein said, "Imagination is more important than Knowledge." And the first two of Steven Covey's Seven Habits talk about the importance of (1) Preparing the ground, and (2) Planting the Seeds of Creativity. Isn't that what Longfellow was doing so effectively above.... preparing the ground and planting the seeds of creativity in his progeny?
Dan Pink, author of A Whole New Mind, says that logical, precise and left brain thinking (3!!) gave us the Information Age, but Asia, Automation and Abundance(3!!) gave us a reason to shift. Now with the Conceptual Age, we need Artistry, Empathy and Emotion (3!!) So back we go to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow!
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (there's that 3 again!!!) lives on after all these years, after all, because Imagination encircles the world....just like we can see the three one-time LIVE dolls, locked away in the dungeons of a poet's heart!
"...and 3 doors left unguarded....."
Other poems by Longfellow: "The Village Blacksmith" (1841) The Wreck of the Hesperus (1842) Evangeline (1847) The Song of Hiawatha (1855) The Courtship of Miles Standish (1858) "The Sermon of St. Francis" (1858) "The Children's Hour" (1860) "Paul Revere's Ride" (1860) "The Saga of King Olaf" (1863) Tales of a Wayside Inn (1863)
Shakespeare on Imagination from: "The Tempest." "I dreamed of clouds opening up and dropping such riches on me that when I woke up, I cried because I wanted to dream again."
Jonas Salk: "Hope lies in dreams, in imagination and in the courage of those who dare to make dreams into reality." ~~