Abby's journal

 

 

January 10, 2017

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Steve's Mom passed over here last Saturday night. She had gotten to where she was unable to swallow anything, and it was only another three days. But Steve noticed that whereas she had been miserable before for weeks, at the end she was peaceful, and even smiling. Now, he suspects that certain of her loved ones were hanging around and waiting to receive her, and that she felt their presence. What else might have caused this unexpected peacefulness, he doesn't know. But he does know that I gave him to understand, when we first got together, that my job, here, used to be gradually introducing the astral world to terminally-ill patients. So perhaps I lent some of my expertise, as well :-).

That is not what I wanted to talk about, this evening. We could, of course, spend an entire entry on it, and more. But it is very personal--Steve's feelings are very personal--and perhaps, since his Mom is not in on this decision to channel in a public forum, we will not involve her where she does not have the opportunity to say "yeah" or "nay." Etiquette, in the specific sense of thoughtfulness, is practiced here and taken seriously.

Now, I have told you that when I was quite young, and first started tutoring Mathew, I attempted to teach him French by having him translate the fables of La Fontaine. But this is not so easy as it seems, because these were written in verse, in French; but now he had to put them in verse, in English! And they had to be clever verses, you see, not awkward ones (because I was also, unknown to him, teaching him to write poetry). I had to be a bit careful, because he already thought he could write poetry, you see. He would be self-deprecating about it, but really, deep down, he thought he already knew.

So I gave him these fables, in verse, as my assignments, and worked with him on them, making suggestions. If you look it up, you will find that they were translated and published by Elizur Wright, Mathew's friend when he wrote for Wright's paper, the Boston "Chronotype." But I am telling Steve in no uncertain terms, we translated them, together--or at least some portion of them.

I want Steve to share one of these with you, one of our favorites, and one in which Mathew put his especial stamp upon. This is Mathew's peculiar brilliance, and his sense of humor. Read it out loud--try to follow the rules of reading poetry, not stopping at the end of every line unless there is a comma asking you to do so, and so-on and so-forth. Steve does know how to read poetry. And do you see, that the things you have mastered before, in a past life, come easily to you, and are readily remembered. They are, as it were, merely triggered. So of all the things Steve didn't pay attention to in grade school, he immediately understood how to read poetry.

Steve is very tired, and not sleeping well, and so we will not channel more, tonight. Unfortunately, this particular poem was not illustrated, or we would share the drawing along with the lines. But just read it aloud for us--indulge us, if you please. I think you are in for a real treat!

Oh--"meanest" means, smallest, of least account. To "despise" means, specifically, to look down upon.

Steve says he specifically remembers how pleased he felt with the four lines beginning, "With constant change of his attack." Steve also says the moral reminds him of Australian animal adventurer Steve Irwin, who manhandled crocodiles but died of a sting ray.

Love to each and all,
Abby

THE LION AND THE GNAT.

Go, paltry insect, nature's meanest brat!
Thus said the royal lion to the gnat.
The gnat declared immediate war.
 Think you, said he, your royal name
  To me worth caring for?
Think you I tremble at your power or fame?
 The ox is bigger far than you;
 Yet him I drive, and all his crew.
 This said, as one that did no fear owe,
  Himself he blew the battle charge,
 Himself both trumpeter and hero.
  At first, he played about at large,
Then on the lion's neck, at leisure, settled,
And there the royal beast full sorely nettled.
 With foaming mouth, and flashing eye,
 He roars. All creatures hide or fly,--
  Such mortal terror at
  The work of one poor gnat!
With constant change of his attack,
The snout now stinging, now the back,
And now the chambers of the nose;
The pygmy fly no mercy shows.
 The lion's rage was at its height;
 His viewless foe now laughed outright,
 When on his battle-ground he saw,
 That every savage tooth and claw
  Had got its proper beauty
  By doing bloody duty;
Himself, the hapless lion, tore his hide,
And lashed with sounding tail from side to side.
 Ah! bootless blow, and bite, and curse!
 He beat the harmless air, and worse;
  For, though so fierce and stout,
  By effort wearied out,
 He fainted, fell, gave up the quarrel.
 The gnat retires with verdant laurel.
  Now rings his trumpet clang
  As at the charge it rang.
 But while his triumph note he blows,
 Straight on our valient conquerer goes
 A spider's ambuscade to meet,
 And make its web his winding-sheet.

  We often have the most to fear
   From those we most despise;
  Again, great risks a man may clear,
   Who by the smallest dies.