“Hi, Jod…” I can’t play it for you. The only recording of it is in my head. You’ll have to trust me. The sound of it is so beautiful. Like the first bird you hear in spring. The lilt of song that tells you all is well, just as it should be. A joyful ease, with just a glint of what could be. That is what I heard when my mother called my name.
I knew when she said it, “Hi, Jod,” that there was no news to tell. Just a sharing of gathered interests. Gathered hearts. Maybe a new outfit from Sundance. Something that made her laugh. Something she still hoped for — those were my favorites – to hear her still hope for something, like a Spring coat, or a gentle kiss.
People memorize stanzas of songs, of poems, to feel something, with far less meaning. How lucky am I? To have it all in just two words. So easy to carry in my heart’s pocket.
I started a new book yesterday. “Trajectory,” — collection of short stories by Richard Russo. In the first story, a group of intellectuals are discussing the “greatest lyric poem ever written.” They made the ruling that to nominate a poem you had to be able to recite the whole thing from memory, and then make your case for its greatness. One person recited “Kubla Khan” in its entirety. All the greats. But when it came to this one man’s turn, he recited a children’s poem. Everyone knew it. With its “childish iambic downbeat.” Everyone laughed and enjoyed it, but then insisted he explain why this was the greatest poem ever in the English language. “Because,” he said, suddenly serious, his eyes full, “when I speak those words aloud, my father’s alive again.”
Tears of joyful tenderness fell down my face. And I heard the words, “Hi, Jod.” These two words, for me, the greatest poem ever written.