If I’m not careful I’ll sprout poetry or something. I feel as if I could do anything. Almost. Were it not for the knees.
Yesterday the Resident IT Consultant and I celebrated something which has not happened yet. Family and friends turned out to be quite skilled at cheating at giving no presents [by strict order], and it’s really interesting to see what lengths people will go to. Flowers are ‘not really gifts.’ Cardamom pods don’t count. A bag if not wrapped, likewise. Nice try my friends, and so kind of you.
And then there was Helen Grant who felt that writing an ode was no present either, having slaved away over her Keatsian style poetry for hours. Weeks? Maybe months? She has generously agreed to my sharing it with you.
Ode to the Bookwitch on her 60th Birthday
If Sweden’s ever mentioned, you will find
(Though less well known than Germany or France)
That certain things will quickly come to mind
Like Stockholm Syndrome, ABBA, or perchance
Surströmming with its most distinctive whiff.
The Billy bookcase from IKEA – yes! –
Has fixed the Swedish nation in our hearts
Though we’d be joyful if
We didn’t have to scratch our heads and guess
The way to make the bookcase from the parts.
This smörgåsbord of Swedish joys bestowed
Upon the grateful world is not complete
Unless we list the Swedish folk who’ve showed
How ripe with talent is their land, replete
With expertise and triumph – only look
At Greta Garbo, Björn Borg and poor
Stieg Larsson, sadly cut off in his prime,
The Muppets’ Swedish cook
And PewDiePie and many, many more
That I could name if only I’d the time.
And now I feel the time has come to name
Another Swede we ought to celebrate,
Who also has achieved a certain fame
By telling us which books are crap or great.
The Bookwitch works her magic all the year;
She lovingly composes each review
With honesty – no flattery or spite;
She bravely does not fear
To give her praise where praise is clearly due
But warn us if the book is rather shite.
But why, you ask, would anybody swap
The wondrous land of Sweden for these shores?
Precipitation never seems to stop
And only ducks can stand it out of doors.
Yet even witches have a tender heart,
In spite of how formidable they look,
And love can cast a spell they can’t withstand.
So, as to live apart
Would be a tragic ending to life’s book,
She made her future in this barb’rous land.
Two masterpieces of her own she’s done:
A debut work and then a sequel too!
The first a rather literary one,
The other, scientific through and through.
Her sixty years she bears with girlish ease
As magic through the ages shall prevail
And witches never really show their age
(Except perhaps their knees);
So may her story be a merry tale
With happiness until the final page.
[Helen Grant 15/5/2016]
Isn’t that great? And kind? I should really wait until the right day, but my heart is full now, so I won’t delay.
(But I got my ‘revenge.’ One guest rather carelessly suggested that if we wanted nothing because we already have too much, perhaps they could assist by taking stuff home with them. So I forced partybags on them as they left… That’ll teach him.)