by Louis Daniel Brodsky
Myth and ritual,
Streamlined to fit into our attic
And rolling on slick-spinning wheels
Clicking, rhythmically, over silver sticks
Glistening from repetitious passage,
Fascinate us —
Children and adults simultaneously transfixed.
Evenings, we ascend invention's narrow stairs,
Leading to magical yards and depots,
Where dreams are the cargo we load and haul
To distant destinations ten feet away
And fantasies, recorded on manifests,
Are the passengers we routinely deliver,
By rotating the humming transformer's handles.
The wielding of order and almost-total control
Over acts of God
And cataclysms due to human ineptitude
Make our retreat
So appealing and inexpressibly necessary.
During these all-too-brief pre-bedtime hours,
We approximate omniscience.
As master builders,
Engineers expert in the artifice of transportation,
We become the occasion
To which our creativity rises, each night,
When apotheosis rides, for free,
Those colossal trains
Singing their song electric.
In the fourth volume of the fivebook series The Seasons of Youth, Louis Daniel Brodsky traces the growth of his daughter, from ages six to eleven, and that of his son, from three to eight. His girl develops socially, attending her first sleepover and making friends with her classmates. She also matures emotionally, as evidenced during the mornings she shares with her father, who practices spelling with her, at home, and drives her to school, the two of them often sharing breakfast in one of their small town's cafés. His boy goes through phases of fascination — trains, airplanes, dinosaurs and whales — but finds his mother's avocations of drawing and painting to be his steady preoccupations, allowing him to give order to his ever-expanding world. And both kids begin coming to terms with their father's increasingly frequent business trips. Hopgrassers and Flutterbies is a touching universal portrait of a devoted, loving father and mother and their two flourishing children.
This book is available in Kindle, Nook, Sony, Kobo, and Apple E-book formats, for purchase, and through public libraries' Overdrive account, for loan.