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Mischief Eyes – The Song

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boy with moon

To once more see the world…

… the beauty of the moon and stars … the unexplainable draw of planes and trucks… through toddler eyes is a reawakening.

To the child it’s all fascinating and new and calling out to be understood … to be held, twisted, tasted, and savoured. Danger can be a stranger while the senses tingle and excite… and sometimes they perceive fright where no danger exists.

As a young parent you miss so much. But why?

Simple. It’s because you’re just way too busy hanging on by the fingertips of sanity – the minutes and days are seen through hazy glasses of responsibility and exhaustion and the monetary stretch of daycare and diapers and clothes that grow too small each week (hopefully the child’s and not the parents’!).

But, as a grandparent… my young eyes have seen years slip by, and now these same eyes and hands that have lived through the world of weariness and depletion, find new vivacity and energy in this short-term cocoon of toddlerdom.

This is the world that my wife and I find ourselves in these days within this realm of relatively new grandparenthood.

It’s become our delight and wonder relived through Mischief’s Eyes.

So, today I write down some lyrics to capture a fleeting moment… a moment almost like a still photo, a snapshot in time, of a little boy in his own expanding world of wonder. (See if you can spot the Shakespeare!)

boy with stars

MISCHIEF EYES

by Larry Green

The boy inside this balloon that’s blue
and shifts black at night
ceiling stars dance and sing
everything is truck and moons
fingers float those
little boats
young maestro of wind and sound
with music scores that never kiss the ground

Rolling with the climb and spin
oaty ripples cross your chin
rightside up or upsidedown
a tiny joker with a tiny grin
toss and throw
help calls in slippy snow
is this sock left or right
and is this shoe red or white

CHORUS

Our tattered eyes ask
How did we miss eternity’s hole
your disguise fooled us all
when your arms surround
your finger’s got us twisted round
those mischief eyes that slowly drown
sail away little rogue

Big brown bears on pages
Wild things escaping cages
books whirlwind strewn
some quiet words, some filled with tunes
scramble and clamber
shimmy and scamper
with Sparkle climbing hills
up and up till clock ticks noon

BRIDGE:

This body contains a soul
a kingdom is too small to hold

CHORUS

Our tattered eyes ask
How did we miss eternity’s hole
your disguise fooled us all
when your arms surround
your finger’s got us twisted round
those mischief eyes that slowly drown
sail away little rogue

sail away

The Day My Dad Was Sick And I Began My Journey to Wisdom

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father son

My Dad and I were never close.

Nope, not even close to close.

We were acquaintances who happened to live under the same roof for 16 years. Ghosts treading the same floors in different dimensions.

I’ve spent many years feeling bitterness and resentment towards the man who housed, fed and clothed me.

There was no abuse … sure, the occasional routine spanking – it was still the era of spare the rod and spoil the child – no, my beef with my father was benign neglect.

He never joined in with my mother at my school events, attended my hockey games, or helped with delivering my newspapers when the snow was deep the way Mom did. He never helped with my homework or joined me in making little plastic car and airplane models, never threw a baseball my way. He didn’t teach me how to drive or tell me that one day I’d have to shave hair from the edges of my ears (really?!?).

I think that many of us harbour some ill feelings towards at least one of our parents.

It’s pretty amazing that these childhood feelings can linger for decades afterwards, which perhaps helps me understand why we prosecute war criminals and sexual predators (yes, YOU Harvey W.) many years after the acts occurred. The hurts stick to you like flypaper.

In the early winter of 1974 I was on a French class school trip to Quebec City … what joyous fun and freedom it was for a 16 year old to share a hotel room with two buddies in a “foreign” city…

… to experience the Quebec Winter Carnival, taste the frozen maple taffy, cavort with Bonhomme Carnaval, eat filet mignon in an historic old restaurant, and sip French wine (yes, underaged!) with classmates from long plastic canes designed to secretly tote alcohol.

And there were girls on the trip! Even more, there were teenage girls in the Quebec streets who spoke… French! Oh Mon Dieu…

Bonhomme carnaval

Then the phone rang in my hotel room and the fun ended all too soon.

Only a few months after my Mom’s unexpected death, my Dad had been diagnosed with acute leukemia and was being aggressively treated in hospital with nasty chemo chemicals to combat the blood cancer. There were yeast sores all through his mouth and he could barely drink. The chemotherapy designed to save him was brutal and life threatening all on its own.

The voice on the phone said that he was dwindling – quickly – and I should perhaps book a train ticket and return home ASAP if I wanted to say a final goodbye.

I “bravely-in-a-boys-don’t-cry-sort-of-way” held back any tears and began packing and lamenting the end of my teenage frolic en francais.

Shortly after I received another phone call… Larry, don’t worry, he probably isn’t as bad as we first thought, he should survive the next couple of days. Stay there and enjoy your time in Quebec.

Right.

Turns out my Dad survived the chemo (and leukemia) and lived another reasonably healthy 7 years.

And you might think that we became close (or closer) as a result of his illness and the near-death experience, but we didn’t. The big chill remained. The Hollywood happy ending never occurred in real life.

But. Over many years I’ve let the bitter taste dissipate. Melt and absorb back into the universe. It becomes so dilute that it can’t do any harm anymore.

I’m not perfect. I’ve realized that I’m a product of my upbringing and environment and so was my Dad. In his shoes: with his parents, school, and life experiences, would I be any different? I don’t know.

My Dad wasn’t a bad guy. In many ways, he was a good fellow, just not a good Dad to me.

I will never totally understand the man he was, but I understand now through my own life history how a life is molded and shaped … how diamond is often imperfectly formed over time from coal through heat and pressure.

You might say I’ve grown a tiny bit … which is really a synonym for older and … wait for it …

WISE?

WISDOM?

Maybe?

buddha

GoodDay GoodNight

Comments Off on GoodDay GoodNight

There’s nothing lovely or sentimental about a car crash (or a helicopter crash). They’re crushing and painful.

But in music, the bittersweet can be fabulous.

Most of us are drawn into sad songs as a way of dealing with our own sadnesses and knowing that others have experienced and felt the same…

I’m not a religious guy (surprise!), but I’m currently in love with a song… a set of lyrics playing on the country charts these days. It’s called Jersey On The Wall (I’m Just Askin’), written by a talented young Canadian singer/songwriter Tenille Townes.

If I ever get to Heaven
You know I got a long list of questions
Like how do You make a snowflake?
Are You angry when the Earth quakes?
How does the sky change in a minute?
How do You keep this big rock spinnin’?
And why couldn’t You stop that car from crashin’?
Forgive me, I’m just askin'”

There are big questions we all have… monster-sized questions we’ll never truly know the answers to… I won’t be so arrogant as to tell you that your religious beliefs are wrong or swear that my lack of belief is right … I won’t boldly declare there is no heaven … nor hell…

But I will share my words that mark the final seconds of a life and wherever those moments take one…

Note the simple rhyme scheme… a new one for me in lyric writing.

day to night.

GOODDAY GOODNIGHT

by Larry Green

when your last breath sighs
sense the closing of your eyes
once you’ve murmured your last goodbye
heard your final baby’s cries
had all the high 5’s
lived enough years to say you’re wise
passed the tests stripped the disguise
lost the game sometimes but won the prize
Paradise

been to weddings, worn the bow ties
dipped in water been baptized
thought long and hard about euthanize
camped in forests bit by horseflies
watched the dipsy-doodle magpies
topped the CN Tower high rise
cooked some meals ate tons of fries
tasted apples Ambrosia and Sunrise
Paradise

college days spent learning blood types
years before I knew differences between bytes and disk drives
drawn in by girlish wares and fantasize
wore out jeans both Lee’s and Levi’s
drank too much beer so so unwise
scanned the northern lights in inky skies
strummed guitars and lyricized
met the girl and crooned the lullabies
Paradise

it’s chilly now on my glassy eyes
sailing back to days of mud-pies
swinging bats and catching pop-flies
street hockey games choosing sides
Heinz poured thick on Mom’s chicken potpies
steamy days steamy nights in Julys
evening breezes float cicadas and dragonflies
newspapers tossed for daily exercise
Paradise

CHORUS

GoodDay GoodNight
final frame unfrozen
running into the sun
GoodDay GoodNight

lantern