This morning Bow had a less common request to make of me. It started like this: "תני לי לשמוע" -- "Let me hear"
I did not know what he wanted to hear. Sometime a request like that ends with the name of Lady Gaga. "?לשמוע מה" --"To hear what?" I asked.
"לשמוע את אמא" -- "To hear Mommy,"
So I took out the closest book I had handy and started reading to him. It happened to be "Rudyard Kipling's Verse, Definitive Edition."
I read him two poems. The first was Romulus and Remus.
Oh, little did the Wolf-Child care--
When first he planned his home,
What City should arise and bear
The weight and state of Rome.
A shiftless, westward-wandering tramp,
Checked by the Tiber flood,
He reared a wall around his camp
Of uninspired mud.
But when his brother leaped the Wall
And mocked its height and make,
He guessed the future of it all
And slew him for its sake.
Swift was the blow--swift as the thought
Which showed him in that hour
How unbelief may bring to naught
The early steps of Power.
Foreseeing Time's imperiled hopes
Of Glory, Grace, and Love--
All singers, Caesars, artists, Popes--
Would fail if Remus throve,
He sent his brother to the Gods,
And, when the fit was o'er,
Went on collecting turves and clods
To build the Wall once more!
I think maybe that poem about Romulus and Remus could be as easily applied to Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, one of whom had the idea, while the other could exploit it to greater effect. But what does Bow think? It is hard to tell. Sometimes he listens very intently when I read to him, and at other times he is clearly distracted.
"If Bow can spell out words, why do you have to read to him?" That is a question that Lawrence's wife once asked him, when he described to her how he reads to Bow. "Because he can't focus for very long," Lawrence answered. I think that is a pretty accurate description of the phenomenon. Bow could read any word on that page. But he can't seem to focus on the process of reading long enough to assemble a whole sentence together. And besides, he seems to enjoy the sound and rhythm of being read to. Poems are meant to be read out loud.
The second poem that I read to Bow this morning was the "The Vineyard",
I believe this poem is a critique of the socialist teachings in one of the parables in the New Testament. Why should you care if you are paid just the same as someone else for work that you did more of? You all get paid the same, so don't be envious. But... that is not how human nature works.At the eleventh hour he came, But his wages were the same As ours who all day long had trod The wine-press of the Wrath of God. When he shouldered through the lines Of our cropped and mangled vines, His unjaded eye could scan How each hour had marked its man. (Children of the morning-tide With the hosts of noon had died, And our noon contingents lay Dead with twilight's spent array.) Since his back had felt no load , Virtue still in him abode; So he swiftly made his own Those last spoils we had not won. We went home, delivered thence, Grudging him no recompense Till he portioned praise or blame To our works before he came. Till he showed us for our good-- Deaf to mirth, and blind to scorn-- How we might have best withstood Burdens that he had not borne!
I have been taking care of Bow since he was one month old. I may not have done everything the best way, but I have done the best I could. He has turned out pretty well, I think. If somebody wants to help me make things even better for Bow, then I welcome that. But they had better not want all the credit. Because... yes, that matters. Ego is not a dirty word. Everyone likes to feel appreciated for the things they have done and the material contributions they have made to any joint work they embark on. It's only fair.