Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Rose's Story

—Today’s poems are by Rose Schwartz (1918-2013). 
Her son, Caschwa (Carl Bernard Schwartz of Sacramento) 
writes: "My mother, Rose, lived from 1918 to 2013, 
and enjoyed writing poetry in her earlier years. 
Following are some excerpts of her poetry, along with 
a running history [by Carl] that highlights some of the 
magnificent, violent, life-changing, and daily events 
going on in that window of time."
(Anonymous Photos were added by K. Kieth)


A first class postage stamp was 2 cents.
Pluto was discovered.
The Great Depression (begun with the stock market crash of late 1929) left over 3.2 million people unemployed.

CATS (written by Rose at age 12)

Big cat, big cat,
Go away, scat!
Little cat, little cat,
Come sit on the mat.
I like to play with a little kitten
Because by a big cat I was bitten.
So, big cat,
You go away.
And little kitten,
You may stay.


Al Capone was sentenced.
"The Star Spangled Banner" became our National Anthem.
The Empire State Building was completed.
The electron microscope was developed.

WELCOME ’32 (Age 13)

Oh, what is that shout of joy and cheer?
It’s the people out welcoming the New Year.
For the Old Year has faded away
Into the past, forever to stay.
And all the trouble that with it did last
Has also come to live in the past.
The next year will be joyous and free,
And everyone happy will be;
The next year will not be blue,
So come and welcome thirty-two.


Amelia Earhart’s solo flight.
Swing Era launched with Duke Ellington’s “It Don’t Mean A Thing, If It Ain’t Got That Swing”.
The atom was split for the first time.

A THOUGHT (Age 14)

We all sometimes wander back
In the sacred valley of memory,
And sigh for some of the times gone by,
And see ourselves as we used to be.

We laugh at the funny mistakes we’ve made,
And just as oft tears will come to our eyes,
For we’re dreaming now of all that happened
In those far-off days we so dearly prize.

We have no chance to see them again,
So we’re not sorry for all we have done;
We’ll take the lesson we’ve learned in the past
And use it in the day that has just begun.


Prohibition was repealed.
A first class postage stamp was 3 cents.


Hidden in a corner of the library,
A part where I seldom ever go,
So small it was hardly noticed,
I found a book of the long ago.

Very carefully then I took it
For the pages were yellow with age,
But as I read, that old-fashioned printing
Formed a treasure of every page.

There were tales of youths and maidens,
Of kings and queens of the past;
So it was with a sigh that I left their castles
And reluctantly put it away at last.

Back on the shelf where I had found it,
This dream of another day,
For I knew now why it had been put there
And why it should always stay.

But before leaving the library
I turned and gave another fond look,
Then went out and left behind me
A treasure in the shape of a book.


Hitler became Führer.
FEC and FCC were established.
Bonnie and Clyde were ambushed.
John Dillinger was shot.
Vitamin K was discovered.
Dust Bowl began (and went on for years)


Friendship is a wonderful thing
To have, to hold, to keep;
It’s beautiful, an inspiration
That is tender, strong, and deep.

It helps one through the darker places
And goads one on anew;
It is a bond that won’t be broken
And is always shared by two.


Persia became Iran.
Nazis enacted the Nuremberg Laws.
The second phase of Roosevelt’s New Deal calls for Social Security.
Gallup Poll began.
Paperback books were introduced.


A place for rest, a place for play,
A shelter by night and a home by day,
A history told in crannies and nooks,
In pictures, letters, and well worn books;
Just a gaunt, old house to the passer-by,
A weedy garden and an old oak nigh,
But its rooms hold secrets they will not tell
Behind the sign of “House for Sale.”

    A room where through the years I slept,
    Within its walls my secrets kept;
    The window with its morning view
    That helped me start each day anew;
    My greatest battles here were fought,
    Secrets from my heart were brought,
    Joys and sorrows that still prevail;
    All these are in the “House for Sale.”

    Cheery evenings around the fire
    While outside the soft snow piled higher,
    Or days of happiness so gay and light
    With the past as a road to the future bright;
    And then it came, that bitter day
    When things were packed and put away;
    The hidden tears, to no avail,
    And now it stands, a “House for Sale.”

    All of the things that once were dear?
    Things I’ll nevermore see or hear?
    Echos now sounding again and again
    Bring to my heart a lingering pain;
    But despite the loss, despite the sorrow,
    I open my eyes with hope for tomorrow;
    There is still one thing that did not fail;
    My memories are not “For Sale.”


Spanish Civil War began.
War between China and Japan began (and continued through WWII).
Electric guitars debuted.

Gone With The Wind was published.
First artificial heart.
Boulder Dam was completed.
First successful helicopter flight.

GOSSIP (Age 18)

The tongue has loosed its bitter dart
Whose stinging point has pierced some heart,
And so enwedged comes not apart.


The Hindenburg exploded.
Disney’s full-length animated feature,
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, was released.
Golden Gate Bridge was completed.


Now that the feast is over
And the table once more it clear,
I could be very happy
If the dishes would disappear.


About 20,000 to 30,000 Jews were sent to concentration camps.
"The War of the Worlds” was broadcast.
Fair Labor Standards Act established the minimum wage.
Teflon was developed.
The ball point pen was invented.


I hear their steps upon the walk
I see them as they stop to talk
    And pass me by.

I feel the scorn on every face
Of friendliness I find no trace
    No wonder why.

Oh, all of this myself I wrought
The deed or base I could have fought
    Did I but try.

This scorn and hate are mine
    I dare not cry.

So go I on my weary way
Tomorrow just one more today
    Until I die.

 In honor of Rose Schwartz, 1918-2013


Today’s LittleNip:

Mountain-rose petals
Falling, falling, falling now…
Waterfall music

—Matsuo Bashō


—Medusa, with thanks to Caschwa for putting together this picture of his mother’s life and work. Poetry brings us together over many spaces and times.

Celebrate poetry, both our own and those who came before us!

Photos in this column can be enlarged by clicking on them once,
then click on the X in the top right corner to come back
to Medusa.