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A Poem for Winter: Kit Stafford and her "rain dear" 

click to enlarge nw_kitpoem1.jpg

This being the winter season and all, with raindeer (intentionally misspelled) flying about, along with ice worms and snow fleas, well, I think you'll enjoy this...

One of things I enjoy in life is watching a person with talent do his or her thing. For example, sitting in Soji in Sisters, fixated on the delicious teriyaki chicken and enjoying the music of Nugget editor, Jim Cornelius - sometimes with Gary Miller and Lynn Woodward singing and playing - I'm always envious that I can't sing and play like that, but thankful they can.

It's the same when I'm reading a really good wordsmith, someone like Robert B. Parker, for example. What yarns he could spin, but now that he's gone out among the stars and we'll hear no more from him.

Then there's Sisters' poet, Kit Stafford. Her dad was Oregon's poet laureate, and, according to her, he could spin a poem at the drop of a hat. The apple didn't fall far from the tree as far as I'm concerned.

Kit, my wife, Sue, and I went to Sunriver recently for a night of fun and good music and to entertain Friends of the Sunriver Nature Center in a program that Jay Bowerman, a Sunriver naturalist titled, "Snow Snakes and Ice Worms."

At the beginning of the evening's gala affair, Kit asked the audience if they would take a moment and write a thought about winter on a small scrap of paper. Her plan was to then incorporate those words and phrases into a poem she'd compose and then read at the end of the evening.

Jay and his band opened the evening with a few delightful numbers they wrote, then Kit read several poems that fit the winter theme, including one she composed - off the top of her head - about snow snakes, and I shared a couple of wintery poems by Robert Service, "The Ballad of Blasphemous Bill" and the like. Kit then circulated through the audience picking up the raw material for her final poem.

A few minutes later, just as my friends and I finished off our ice worm cocktails (which was really a stick of spaghetti with two red spots for eyes), Jay got to his feet and introduced Kit and the delightful poem she composed from words contributed by thirty individuals throughout the audience.

"Looking through the scraps of paper, I sorted them out quickly," Kit said, "But to my dismay all I found were single words, not the phrases I'd expected, and hoped for. But there was a lovely drawing of a reindeer among all the words, and just one phrase, 'Game called on account of weather,' and I wondered - where did that come from?"

Kit had only 10 minutes to compose her poem, and here it is:

Mama, Mama, what does it mean, "Game called on account of weather?'

Well, Dear, rain, Dear can spoil a game of football or soccer.

Mama, Mama, I've heard of frozen ponds, jingle bells and skiing cross country,

crisp chill, the Ice Capades, sled downhill, adventure,

wintry winds, slick roads, lots of ice worms playing,

schuss boots, snow plows, sparkling sleigh bells, white,

glacier blue, ice blue, cold fingers, noses and toseses,

cold night, full moon lighting desert grasses,

freezing sleet, crunchy snow, fires, friends at home.

No, no, rain, Dear, can make things slick and frosty.

Mama, Mama, don't you know that Frosty is a snowman?

Mama, Mama, don't you know that reindeer love to prance?

They run around, they can fly and they love to dance.

Mama, Mama, reindeer laugh and sometimes they snort.

Mama, Mama, reindeer would never spoil a sport!

Yes, Dear, my Sweetest One, they are just as you say.

It's raining, Dear, so run along.

Go outside to play.


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