THE POWER OF ENDURANCE–OR SURVIVAL ACROSS THE AGES

Growing up in Argentina, my literary diet consisted of a rich and diverse menu of Spanish, German, American and British authors. Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra and Juan Ramon Jimenez populated my bookshelf with illustrated volumes of Don Quixote and Platero y Yo, respectively. Joanna Spyri cultivated in me an awe for the Swiss Alps in her all inspiring Heidi, while the vivid poems of William Wordsworth competed with the nourishing prose of Louisa May Alcott.

But Shakespeare? We had dabbled on it in school, but I think even the teachers were afraid to approach it. Of course, we learned of his greatness with plays and poetry and language and symbolism–the list goes on. However, we never really did venture to the heart of it.

As I became older, I tried–I really, really did–to incorporate Hamlet, King Lear, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream into my repertoire of read books, to no avail. Invariably, I would shut them close, frustrated at my persistent inability to understand them.

One to never give up, and intent on answering the basic question of why Shakespeare endured and survived across the ages, I came across a gem at my local library. Nestled among books on literary criticism was How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare, by Ken Ludwig. What an idea! What if I pretended to be a kid again and let myself be spoonfed by the author? I took the book home and settled under my mango tree in the backyard.

And thus began a journey from which I will never return. For you are never the same after you come back to planet Earth from an exceptional work of fiction or poetry. And this, my friends, was no exception. Ken Ludwig holds your hand as you both traverse the forest of Shakespeare’s worlds. He explains in detail the function of each tree in that forest–phrases, sentences–and reveals the textures, smells, and sounds particular to each leaf–the words that conform those phrases–delivering a delectable understanding of the master and his masterpieces.

So if you don’t have children, or they’re grown up, teach Shakespeare to your inner child–the one within that once in a while will play peek-a-boo to remind you there’s still time for good literature.

 

THERE’S ONLY TODAY

Not too long ago, a set of unforeseen circumstances disrupted the daily flow of our business. As a result, we were left with no help in our warehouse. Merchandise began to accumulate as we watched in despair the growing mountain of clutter.

But yesterday, we were blessed with unexpected help. The warehouse was transformed once again in the axis of organizational bliss. I wondered, “Wouldn’t it be nice if we could have this happen every day? To be able to count on an effective, reliable worker, someone who shows up every day, and is willing to do what needs to be done? Wouldn’t it be reassuring to know with certainty that things will run smoothly again?” My inner voice responded “There are no guarantees in life.” Then, I ask, how can we have a sense of constant peace of mind, a feeling that no matter what, our needs will create the fulfillment of those needs, that the solution to our problems will reveal–and materialize–itself at the exact moment it needs to?

The concept of zen comes to mind. I found myself enjoying how things played out yesterday. I wanted to keep thinking about it because it brought peace to my mind. I wanted to stay in that state of bliss and I wanted it to repeat itself the next day. And it was revealed to me, at that moment of wanting more, that all we have is today. I was enjoying the gifts given us, and perhaps I should leave it at that. Tomorrow? It will bring a different challenge , with its own lessons and gifts. But tomorrow does not exist yet There’s only today.

HONORING THE MEMORY OF HEROES

Three years ago, the lives of three families were changed forever. My husband and I were vacationing in Israel when the news announced the disappearance of three teenage boys on their way home from school. It wasn’t long before their bodies were discovered not far from where they had last been seen. Because of this, the infamous tunnels of terror were discovered, which had been built by Palestinian terrorists forming a net of underground passages into Israeli towns, cities, and kibbutzim. Soon it was clear that the boys’ tragic kidnapping and murder had brought with it Israel’s salvation from what would have been one of the most heinous acts of terrorism perpetuated against the Jewish State. This poem is written in their memory.

FOR EYAL YIFRACH, NAFTALI FRANKEL, AND GIL-AD SHAER

By Alexandra Goodwin – July 1st, 2014

Image result for EYAL YIFRACH

 

Heaven weeps.

It’s not the rain that insists
On falling tonight
Nor the sadness that washes
Away our sap
Nor the disbelief that this time
Our prayers were ignored.

Your tender bodies, full of
Promise, brimming with future
Generations, aborted before conception.

Three journeys cut short
Fruit plundered before it got
A chance to be ripe.

Blood drips from your murderers’ hands
Blood too, from those who don’t cry
And while the world goes on in peace,
Three mothers in Israel weep.

School children play in
The freedom of their lives,
The three bodies of Eyal, Naftali, and Gil-ad
Forever in the grave of hatred lie.

And Heaven weeps.

Reading Rilke

Spending this sultry summer afternoon reading Letters to a Young Poet, by Rainer Maria Rilke. At times, it feels as if these letters had been written directly to me. Like when he says:

“You are looking outside, and that’s what you should most avoid doing right now. […] There is only one thing you should do. Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write. This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write?”

Powerful words! The answer is, dear Rilke, yes. Yes! I must write to unfold the stories that flutter in my spirit, to live the lives I cannot live, to transform the outside world into the magical realm that lives within me.

Back to my reading.  Until the next blog.