Thursday, March 20, 2008


Perhaps my favorite literary character of all time is Jo of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women. The poem of tonight is a stanza from "In The Garrett," a poem written by Jo. Jo writes the poem to characterize her sisters and herself through what is found in their hope chests. Jo's stanza is the one I'd like to share.

From "In The Garrett"

'Jo' on the next lid, scratched and worn,
An within a motley store
Of headless dolls, of school-books torn,
Birds and beasts that speak no more;
Spoils brought home from the fairy ground
Only trod by youthful feet
Dreams of a future never found,
Memories of a past still sweet;
Half-writ poems, stories wild,
April letters, warm and cold,
Diaries of a willful child,
Hints of a woman early old;
A woman in a lonely home,
Hearing, like a sad refrain,--
'Be worthy love, and love will come'
In the falling summer rain.

Jo is much like me. However, in my poem the dolls would be neatly laid, the school books in unscathed, and the "birds and beasts" would be once-loved stuffed animals. There is such a wistful feel to the poem and it makes my heart ache without quite knowing why.

The beautiful part of the story is that it is this poem that brings Mr. Bhaer back to Concord. He sees the sorrow of Jo's heart through her poetry and longs for her to feel his love. Mr. Bhaer expresses his love and proposes marriage. But, like the humble professor he is, he holds out his empty hands and says, "Ah! thou gifst me such hope and courage, andI haf nothing to gif back but a full heart." Jo places both her hands in his and says tenderly, "Not empty now."

It is this sort of humble, honest, and open love, that I, the dreamer, the poetess, and the hopeless romantic, silently sigh for. I am yet young, and not much concerned about it, but I find this sort of love beautiful.

What literature defines love for you?

No comments: