Thursday, March 13, 2008

Poem(s) of the Week: A Birthday Tribute

Today is my nephew Matthew's (age undisclosed) birthday. It still astonishes me that any of my sister's children are not still toddlers since I don't feel any (well maybe a little) older than the day they were born. I know exactly where I was when I heard the news that I had a nephew. I was a senior in college, having a very hard time on many fronts. And then a miracle was delivered. I sat right down and wrote a poem and waited eagerly for the day I'd get to meet him. He was - and is - magnificent. I wish I had all my old photos scanned into the computer but my scanner died on one of the 5 moves I've made in the past 6 years. You'll just have to take my word for it.

Alas, I'm so disorganized that I can't find the poem I wrote for him the day he was born. I know it began something like "Oh now I have a nephew... " so you aren't missing much, except for maybe a sense of how thrilled I was. If I can find it later, I'll add it to this post.

When Matt was about two, my sister told me he had a monster living in his closet. I think it was named the Booda Asooda. I wrote this poem for him. I don't know if it helped, but I had fun writing it.

for Matthew

The Magudda Booda, headless fellow
Is in my closet eating jello
Being naughty day and night
But sneakily, away from sight
He laughs and giggles, howls and shrieks
He makes the walls and floor boards creak
He jumps and runs and makes me scared
I'd get him banished if I dared
Or thought he'd really stay away
And not come back more tricks to play
Alas, I think he can't be chased
Nor from his closet home displaced
So I just close the closet door
And check it twice to make quite sure
He can't come out while I'm asleep
And round the bedroom wildly leap
To spend a night of wicked play
And disappear at dawn of day.

- Katherine E. Rabenau

Matt and I used to talk a lot. We argued politics. Much to my deeply Democratic, fanatically liberal dismay he is a libertarian. He believes in objective reality. I believe everything is subjective. We've had some pretty good discussions. I adore him. I'm so very proud of him. He's brilliant. A computer genius among other things. He probably doesn't remember this, but I always told him that he had an inner poet waiting to come out. About six years ago (I think) - he let his inner poet speak. Now he is - his sisters both wax poetic on the subject - a master chef, working to start his own restaurant. It's coming soon to Portland, Oregon and will be called The Fat Cat Bistro. When it opens, food lovers from around the world will be lining up to get in. I know this.

I wrote this poem as a birthday gift for him. I hope he'll like it and feel the truth of it.


beloved stranger
child of my heart
I treasure you
always and forever
my pride in you is fierce
awestruck as I was
by the wonder of your tiny baby self
I have watched you grow
baby to toddler
toddler to little boy
little boy to self-conscious teen
teen to young man
young man to talented adult
we've had our debates -
(that darn Republican streak you got from your father)
and even arguments
about silly things
(as arguments usually are)
some of the life mistakes that trouble me the most
I made with you
I'm not an easy aunt to have
fat, a little crazy
an airy-fairy nut to your grounded pragmatist
my fear of the world kept me from being there
when maybe - even if you didn't need me -
I should have been, would have been if I could
If nothing else, I hope you know how much I love you
like your sisters, you are one of the wonders of my world
the laughing baby boy
has grown into a fine man
a creative, passionate chef
but more than that
a loving supportive brother,
a true friend, loyal to those he loves
no matter what else,
know that I love you
with a heart that wraps around you always
even if distance keeps my arms away

- Katherine E. Rabenau

Happy Birthday Matt.
I Love You.


Dianne said...

stunning and beautiful raven

Happy Birthday Matt

Linda Murphy said...

Happy Birthday Matt!! Always a great guy and I am so thrilled that he is pursuing his talent. I definitely will make a trip to Fat Cat (Oregon is an unchecked state on my quest to visit all 50 states) and I wish Matt continued success in all he does.

And the poems are wonderful! I imagine being an aunt is quite a wonderful person to be.

Raven said...

Thank you Dianne for such a lovely compliment.

Thank you snoopmurph. I hope you do get to visit the Fat Cat when it comes into existence. I've heard Matt's cooking is awesome. Being and aunt is indeed a glorious thing.

Unknown said...

Beautiful...Very beautiful...Matt's a very lucky nephew!