January 05, 2012
Oh, the Things They'll Read

"Daddy! We're studying The Odyssey in Latin class! Let me tell you about the Cyclops!"

Ok, when Olivia's talking about literature, the finer points of what counts as Latin literature versus Greek is not all that important. Heck, let's be honest, the Romans read that poem even more often than we do now. What followed was a bit garbled, but passable as that tale.

Fast forward past bath time and a bit of family TV time. Olivia: "Daddy, can we read something from your new Kindle?"

Yes, folks, thanks to a genuinely generous gift from the Qween Mutha (aka Ellen's mom Suzanne), I am now in the 21st century with my reading. But my choice of books is sparse, and not particularly kid friendly. Since you've read this far, you know what I suggested.

"Oh, wow, dad, that would be awesome. Will you read it to me?"

For whatever reason, I can't string two words together out loud but I'm able to read out loud without stuttering or stammering a bit. Reading poetry is fun, especially when it's an English attempt to render iambic pentameter nearly three thousand years old. So I was more than happy to start sailing across
      Olympus reading with really interesting

"Daddy! My turn!"

And, for me, that's where the magic happened. There are tales of Gilgamesh which are older but were lost for longer than they were known. There are tales of Abraham and Moses, which are better known. But the Blind Bard's works stand at the headwaters of a river that clashed against that of the ancient Bible and, together, formed the world we know today. It started out being told around campfires crackling, twisted sawdust smoke throwing sparks in the sky. The music is lost, but the words have lived on, words... these words, written by a poet who literally stood at the dawn of writing. Words that were read by Socrates, Herodotus, Aristotle, Augustus, Augustine, Becket, Heloise, Eleanor, Newton, Jefferson, Lincoln, Anthony, Roosevelt, Kennedy, and...

And my little girl, halting, yes, but with growing confidence.

Tell me, O muse, of that ingenious hero who travelled far and wide...

Posted by scott at January 05, 2012 08:24 PM

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