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AHB Dispatches: Crazy for Music


Rosaleen Leslie Dickson

Rosaleen Leslie Dickson

In this issue, we bring you a poem by Rosaleen Leslie Dickson of Ottawa for our semi-regular feature, AHB Dispatches.

The veteran journalist and trailblazer, who will be celebrating her 90th birthday on July 2, 2011 writes: “It is a poem that wrote itself on my website when I was preparing for a birthday party. As I read it, two of my daughters hummed the tune My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean and another daughter played the violin. The whole family – 35 progeny plus spouses – joined in.”

Interim Solution, with One Caveat

Life is a perpetual challenge,
Engaging us all as we age.
It’s full of confusing instructions,
With new problems at every stage.
As soon as we’re born we must figure
The methods required to get
Whatever we need from our mother or father,
Whenever we’re hungry, or wet.

When we grow older our problems grow too,
Sharing with sisters and brothers.
Then, going to school, we must learn the new rule about
“Getting along with others.”
When we’re adult, we think it’s all done,
With no more big problems to meet.
‘Til we discover how tricky it is,
Just trying to stay on our feet.

“Oh, well,” we tell ourselves, “All this will end.
When we grow old, we’ll relax.”
Then we are suddenly seventy-five.
That’s when we learn the true facts.
However you dreamed of your future,
It may not turn out that way.
No day can be taken for granted;
Each one is like no other day.

I still have some projects to finish,
Many new places to go,
Books to be read, books to be written,
And new folks I still need to know.
Some of my plans unaccomplished,
I still have some poems to pen.
To get this all done, my only solution is,
“Live to a hundred and ten.”

Then, quoting James Joyce, in Ulysses,
Writing, in his fashion, . . .
I will “pass boldly to that other world,
In the full glory of some passion.”
Yes, I will go up to heaven.
One caveat only I hold:
There must be music up there, or I’ll stay
Here forever, and never grow old.