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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I attempt to get my daughter to sleep by inducing intense boredom

Someone found an ancient tome of poetry by Alfred Lord Tennyson. Tucked between the pages is a photo of a girl and a guy holding my epic cartoon work. Every toon I had ever drawn. The girl was wonderful but she had incredibly bad timing. Twice...

My daughter was having trouble sleeping and I was setting in the old Lazy-boy which has been banned to the "den." Which is really the master bedroom which has been devoted to my collection of books I never read, tin barns I never play with, hundreds of albums I never listen to, a broken Hi-Fi, and Johnny West. So, I was setting surrounded by evidence of my obsessions and getting ready to write a post for The Lazy Farmer. (don't look it up in the Urban Dictionary like someone else did-It is talking about the #$%^&*ing cartoon)

My daughter was a bit upset and I spied the crumbling volume of verse. I started with "Claribel." That one was about a dead girl in the grave yard... "Lilian" was better but a little freaky. We tried Kind Arthur but then Mom told us to go to bed.
Then she kept thinking about Claribel.

So, I gave up and lay in bed with her to help her sleep. We discussed was of thinking which would help you deal with boredom or help you sleep. I told her how I would build things in my mind or make up stories. She told me she visions her life as a circle. She is in the center and different things are around her. Bad things, scary things, good things, things she wants to remember and things she wants to forget. Her problem is they all get together in the center and it freaks her out.

I suggested she imagines moving each one to the out side of the circle.
Afterwards I realized I was attempting to pass on my ability to completely tune out the outside world and live in my own little imaginary shell. Not such I good idea?

Here is some Tennyson for you. We only got about half way through this one...

The Mermaid

By Alfred Lord Tennyson


Who would be
A mermaid fair,
Singing alone,
Combing her hair
Under the sea,
In a golden curl
With a comb of pearl,
On a throne?

I would be a mermaid fair;
I would sing to myself the whole of the day;
With a comb of pearl I would comb my hair;
And still as I comb'd I would sing and say,
"Who is it loves me? who loves not me?"
I would comb my hair till my ringlets would fall
Low adown, low adown,
From under my starry sea-bud crown
Low adown and around,
And I should look like a fountain of gold
Springing alone
With a shrill inner sound,
Over the throne
In the midst of the hall;
Till that great sea-snake under the sea
From his coiled sleeps in the central deeps
Would slowly trail himself sevenfold
Round the hall where I sate, and look in at the gate
With his large calm eyes for the love of me.
And all the mermen under the sea
Would feel their immortality
Die in their hearts for the love of me.

But at night I would wander away, away,
I would fling on each side my low-flowing locks,
And lightly vault from the throne and play
With the mermen in and out of the rocks;
We would run to and fro, and hide and seek,
On the broad sea-wolds in the crimson shells,
Whose silvery spikes are nighest the sea.
But if any came near I would call, and shriek,
And adown the steep like a wave I would leap
From the diamond-ledges that jut from the dells;
For I would not be kiss'd by all who would list,
Of the bold merry mermen under the sea;
They would sue me, and woo me, and flatter me,
In the purple twilights under the sea;
But the king of them all would carry me,
Woo me, and win me, and marry me,
In the branching jaspers under the sea;
Then all the dry pied things that be
In the hueless mosses under the sea
Would curl round my silver feet silently,
All looking up for the love of me.
And if I should carol aloud, from aloft
All things that are forked, and horned, and soft
Would lean out from the hollow sphere of the sea,
All looking down for the love of me.


  1. Felt someone should have commented on this.
    Not much on the verses thing, but the rest was amusing,
    Having been there in there in my own little world before (good drugs) there is a lot to be said for it. For one, everyone is nice and happy. On the other side, no one else is there. That could be a good thing also, I guess.
    Now is the time to get the old Hi-Fi working and bring about another round of memories with your world.

  2. thefrumpyhousewifeDecember 9, 2010 at 6:37 AM

    Interesting poem, especially considering it was written by a man. It would be amusing to write an essay on it, analyzing the multiple meanings and the relationship to Narcissus. Such a discussion would definitely put your daughter to sleep.

  3. Bobby, thanks for the comment. I don't know about advocating the "happy place" concept of how to cope with frustration and boredom. I guess i am. Instead of saving for a college fund I should be saving for therapy fund.

    Housewife, We discussed Narcissus the other morning. I think she ran into him while playing Poptropica or perhaps it was my comment about, "you think I'm slow, Atlas held up the world" and she didn't know who Atlas was. Schools are not so much on Greek mythology anymore. I found the poem quite interesting as well. Of course Tennyson is 19th century and so reflects those views of romantic love. I did not post "The Merman" which is the companion to this as she was completely annoyed at that point and I had a headache. We resorted to tales from when I was a little boy.
    Last night we slept in a tent made out of PVC pipe and covered with a blanket and I told her stories. That worked for her, but for me...not so much. Feeling a little stiff this morning!


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