Sunday, March 29, 2015

"hair like spun glass."

The poem in “Fire in the Pasture” I read that stuck out to me the most was My Daughter’s Favorite Bedtime Story by David Nielsen. It’s about how his daughter’s favorite bedtime story is Go, Dog, Go! by P.D. Eastman. He thinks it is interesting because he’s read it to her so many times, but she always wants to read it again. He uses a lot of descriptive language; “hair like spun glass” and “the black water smooth as sleep, or maybe death” being the most prominent. At one point, he reflects on if his daughter sees some of the details that he sees, then compares it to wondering if how seeing so much is how God feels about watching His children on earth:

Does she see in the sky/ a smile of teeth for a moon? I wondered once,/…if it’s how God feels, watching the pages,/knowing the end and the beginning,/ having already read it a hundred times,/ or more.

I think this connects Nielsen to his LDS roots, for this part reconciles God’s omniscience and the agency of individuals. In this poem, he puts God as a reader, one merely watching the pages play out—He knows the end and beginning, but that does not influence how the book is written. The reader cannot change what the dogs decide to eat at the end of the book or how the color of the car they decide to buy—only the dogs do that. But the reader can know these things, by being able to see all the pages they want to see and knowing the book and the actors in the book so well, the reader can just know.

I really like the parallel he makes between his parenting experiences and the way God might experience His parenting, however subtle it may be. He took something so simple (reading a bedtime story to his daughter) and made it so profound of an act. General advice has been given to many people over many generations to new parents for them to cherish those little moments shared with their children. Time goes by quickly, but those little experiences of telling a bedtime story can make a huge impact on the relationship a parent has with their child. That is something I want to keep in mind when I become a parent so I don’t take advantage of the time I spend with my children.

In response to the listening portions, I wasn’t necessarily impressed with them—my preference in spoken word/performed poetry is to have the performer be more authentic in their reading. I like to hear the passion in the voices, but since the readers were not necessarily the authors, there was a slight disconnect from the voice and the words. My favorite was “Excommunicate” by Danny Nelson, performed by Ben Abbott simply because he seemed to come the closest to my preferences on poetry being read. I feel like the poem “Ghazal” by James Goldberg, performed by Sarah Dunster, was the most underperformed—his words were beautifully crafted and put together, but I was not compelled by the reading of it.


  1. I didn't read this poem, but I love the message behind it. It's really cool how the poem connects parenthood with godhood through the reading of a story. It's a neat perspective and one I'll have to think on more.

  2. I agree that sometimes the listening is not as impactful for me as the reading, but I loved your insight into the text! Great job!

  3. I also didnt read this poem but after reading your post I really want to. I think this was a great moral/lesson. I can totally see how this poem relates to his roots. Thanks for sharing your ideas.