happy 3rd birthday, blythe.

This last year I often told people, “someone should write a book paralleling toddlers and teenagers.” Both stages, somehow awkardly trapped in the continuum of maturity, force all of us (at some point) to reconcile mature thought and emotion to our immature selves. This, my sweet one, has characterized most of you third year of life. Caught. In. The. Middle.

By nature, you are expressive. In your infancy, before words, you would use your dramatic facial expressions (mainly  your eyes) to let others know your thoughts/opinions. Everyday since, your vocabulary increases (as it should) and with it a surplus of opinionated outbursts and commands, joyful songs, and stories. Kristen likes to refer to you as our “family wild card”; we NEVER know what we’re going to get.  And that my tiny, spicy, gregarious little Blythe is what I love about you.

We found your name in a poem, you know — in the first line of Shelley’s “To a Skylark.” I found myself re-reading it not long before your birthday this year, laughing with wet eyes, realizing how much this poem actually describes your spirit.

608. To a Skylark  (by Percy Bysshe Shelley)
HAIL to thee, blithe spirit!
Bird thou never wert—
That from heaven or near it
Pourest thy full heart
In profuse strains of unpremeditated art.
Higher still and higher
From the earth thou springest,
Like a cloud of fire;
The blue deep thou wingest,
And singing still dost soar, and soaring ever singest.
In the golden light’ning
Of the sunken sun,
O’er which clouds are bright’ning,
Thou dost float and run,
Like an unbodied joy whose race is just begun.
The pale purple even
Melts around thy flight;
Like a star of heaven,
In the broad daylight
Thou art unseen, but yet I hear thy shrill delight—
Keen as are the arrows
Of that silver sphere
Whose intense lamp narrows
In the white dawn clear,
Until we hardly see, we feel that it is there.
All the earth and air
With thy voice is loud,
As when night is bare,
From one lonely cloud
The moon rains out her beams, and heaven is overflow’d.
What thou art we know not;
What is most like thee?
From rainbow clouds there flow not
Drops so bright to see,
As from thy presence showers a rain of melody:—
Like a poet hidden
In the light of thought,
Singing hymns unbidden,
Till the world is wrought
To sympathy with hopes and fears it heeded not:
Like a high-born maiden
In a palace tower,
Soothing her love-laden
Soul in secret hour
With music sweet as love, which overflows her bower:
Like a glow-worm golden
In a dell of dew,
Scattering unbeholden
Its aërial hue
Among the flowers and grass which screen it from the view:
Like a rose embower’d
In its own green leaves,
By warm winds deflower’d,
Till the scent it gives
Makes faint with too much sweet those heavy-wingèd thieves.
Sound of vernal showers
On the twinkling grass,
Rain-awaken’d flowers—
All that ever was
Joyous and clear and fresh—thy music doth surpass.
Teach us, sprite or bird,
What sweet thoughts are thine:
I have never heard
Praise of love or wine
That panted forth a flood of rapture so divine.
Chorus hymeneal,
Or triumphal chant,
Match’d with thine would be all
But an empty vaunt—
A thin wherein we feel there is some hidden want.
What objects are the fountains
Of thy happy strain?
What fields, or waves, or mountains?
What shapes of sky or plain?
What love of thine own kind? what ignorance of pain?
With thy clear keen joyance
Languor cannot be:
Shadow of annoyance
Never came near thee:
Thou lovest, but ne’er knew love’s sad satiety.
Waking or asleep,
Thou of death must deem
Things more true and deep
Than we mortals dream,
Or how could thy notes flow in such a crystal stream?
We look before and after,
And pine for what is not:
Our sincerest laughter
With some pain is fraught;
Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.
Yet, if we could scorn
Hate and pride and fear,
If we were things born
Not to shed a tear,
I know not how thy joy we ever should come near.
Better than all measures
Of delightful sound,
Better than all treasures
That in books are found,
Thy skill to poet were, thou scorner of the ground!
Teach me half the gladness
That thy brain must know;
Such harmonious madness
From my lips would flow,
The world should listen then, as I am listening now.

May the world be quick to listen and value the sweet, loud song and joy of your spirit, Blythe. I love you. Happy birthday. Here are some pictures of your new stroller from us and your new dog from Kristen and Tito, who you promptly named “Thomas.”

Advertisements