January 22, 2014

Sometimes, late at night as I'm getting ready to turn off the lights and go to bed, I look at my Dickens Village and wonder, what do the people do all night?  Do they stay frozen in place during the dark hours of the night, or do they come alive and move freely through the streets of London while we slumber unaware in nearby rooms?

Does the quintet softly play a holiday tune for the cold and weary shoppers who step into the neighborhood pub for a warm hot toddy?

Do the travelers patiently waiting at the train station ever get up and stretch, or finally board a train for home after a long day in the City?

I'd like to think the sleigh finally gets to pull up at the guesthouse and the travelers can warm themselves with a bracing glass of sherry to take the chill off, along with a melt-in-your-mouth, just-out-of-the oven piece of shortbread.  Don't the lights of the inn look warm and inviting?  

And I hope that the parade of actors and jugglers and jollifiers make their way safely home from the Globe Theater, perhaps topping off the night with a stop at a nearby pub or fish 'n chips place.

What prompted my musings about my friendly little Village?  A couple of things, really.  First, my mother will be the first to tell you that I have an over-active imagination, and on that issue she is quite correct!  I always loved "pretending" and I guess I never really grew up in that regard.  So even though today I am one year closer to a new decade, I still love to use my imagination and wonder "what if..."  What if my Dickens characters stroll the streets of London on nightly vigils?  What if my Anne doll serves Diana raspberry cordial in my library after bedtime?  Certainly Woody and Buzz Lightyear had some pretty exciting moments when left to their own devices, and Little Bear and Cowboy Boone raised quite a ruckus when they came to life in Indian in the Cupboard.  As I leave my family room I am always tempted to sneak one quick peek back at London town and see if my little village is stirring, but magic is best left alone at night.  And if they do go about their business, they are considerate enough to keep it quiet and not disturb our sleep  And if a piece or two is out of place in the morning? Well, that's the magic at work, isn't it?  

Poet Danusha Lameris must have had the same thoughts running through her mind when she penned this poem, which is what started my musings this morning. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Fictional Characters

Do they ever want to escape?
Climb out of the white pages
and enter our world?

Holden Caulfield slipping in the movie theater
to catch the two o'clock
Anna Karenina sitting in a diner,
reading the paper as the waitress
serves up a cheeseburger.

Even Hector, on break from the Iliad,
takes a stroll through the park,
admires the tulips.

Maybe they grew tired
of the author's mind,
all its twists and turns.

Or were finally weary
of stumbling around Pamplona,
a bottle in each fist,
eating lotuses on the banks of the Nile.

For others, it was just too hot
in the small California town
where they'd been written into
a lifetime of plowing fields.

Whatever the reason,
here they are, roaming the city streets
rain falling on their phantasmal shoulders.

Wouldn't you, if you could?
Step out of your own story,
to lean against a doorway
of the Five & Dime, sipping your coffee,

your life, somewhere far behind you,
all its heat and toil nothing but a tale
resting in the hands of a stranger,
the sidewalk ahead wet and glistening.

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