Calliope

Good morning all. This is Your Morning Update, February 18, 2012.

Suzanne and I were just sitting around talking yesterday, about nothing in particular, with Bailey and Brandy ignoring me as they vied for her attention. I seems they think she’s something special. I don’t know, but they could be right. It was an altogether very pleasant time with nothing on the agenda. Sort of like when two people just sit and talk and have a glass or cup and don’t care what time it is. Times I’ve missed.

She had told me that her mom, Calliope was one of the nine muses, but she didn’t tell me that she was also her dad, Homer’s muse. I asked her why she brushed over that little fact. After all, Homer wrote those two classics, Iliad and the Odyssey, and that was no mean feat. She also failed to mention that she was the goddess of eloquence who bestowed her gift on Kings and Princes. In fact, her name Calliope translates as “Beautiful-Voiced.” I said, “There are a lot of politicians running for office this year that could use a goddess like that.”

Suzanne said, “Yes, she was my father’s muse, and is rightfully given credit for the inspiration she gave him to write those works. After all, she was the muse of epic poetry, and I think my dad knew that when he married her. As I told you, he was struggling as a writer, and it was mom who convinced him to open the deli to help support the family, and she even deserves the credit for naming the place “Musings.” So, now you know the rest of the story, so to speak.”

“Well,” I asked, “how did your dad feel about her getting some of the credit for what he wrote?”

She said, “I don’t think he gave it much thought, it was his name on the books, not hers, nor did anyone else. She was, after all, his wife, and as such was expected to help him out in whatever endeavor he was involved in. In my dad’s case it was writing. After both books became best sellers in the known world, nobody really cared, and since we now had some financial security, we didn’t either.”

I said, “Did you know that in this country, during the steam era, there were musical instruments named after her. They called them Calliopes. Coincidence? I think not, and in a way poetic. They were part of many of the steam boats that plied waters of this young country, and later were part and parcel of circuses. They were noisy, and it was hard to control the volume of the music, since the music was made by blowing steam across a series of pipes of varying length to produce the different sounds and tones. But, they brought much joy to children,and many adults with their music and noise while they were at the circus. Think of it as a much larger and noisier pan flute like you play so beautifully. I know that epic poetry is not directly related to music, but in all poetry there is music, and in all music there is poetry, if only one cares to listen for it.”

“Bobby, my mother would be glad to hear you say that,” she said, “but, she would argue that her job was first and foremost that of an epic poetry muse, and her first allegiance was to my father and helping him find his voice.

“Hmm,” I said, “that refrain sounds familiar to some of what I’ve heard from you since you arrived here. In fact, it sounds to me like everything I’ve heard you say since then. So, tell me, daughter of this famous muse, what is the most important thing you learned from your mother about musing? Or is that the right question? Should I have used the word ‘inspiring?’

“Well,” Robert, she said in her mock teacher voice, “the most important thing I learned from mom was, to not prejudge what the person I am trying to inspire is working on. And, by the way, did you ever see, or hear one of these magical Calliopes yourself?”

“Look sweetheart, I may be old, but I’m not that old. In fact I only know of one guy that could have.”

She laughed, and said, “I’ll have to talk to mom about that.”

Take care, be well and keep in touch.

Bob

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About Bob Kallberg

Retired reporter. Concentrating now on recounting Joanie's 12 year battle with cancer, a battle she waged with extreme courage, determination and an indomitable spirit, that, for me, serves as an example.
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