Thursday, 26 February 2015

Poems in the Waiting Room

The good news is that comments seem to be back, but I'm using IE instead of Chrome, just to be sure!

If you read my other blog, you might know that it is the 150th anniversary of the publication of Alice in Wonderland this year.  And I am pleased that the charity, POEMS IN THE WAITING ROOM has agreed to use a poem by Lewis Carroll in 2015.   POEMS IN THE WAITING ROOM supplies leaflets containing four or five uplifting, interesting or amusing poems to doctors' surgeries.


The poems are a mixture of light and serious, and they aim to give patients something good to think about at a time when they might be anxious and worried; to remind them that there is more to life than illness, and that we can face difficulties with courage and humour.  For instance the leaflet above had poems about the First World War, and contained this one, by Sara Teasdale, (1884 - 1933), which I liked very much:

PEACE
Peace flows into me
As the tide to the pool by the shore
It is mine for evermore
It ebbs not back like the sea.

I am the pool of blue
that worships the vivid sky;
My hopes were heaven-high,
They are all fulfilled in you

I am the pool of gold
When sunset burns and dies -
You are my deepening skies;
Give me your stars to hold.
--

We have supported PITWR for years and it seems that the poems are much appreciated. So anyway,  I have been talking with other members of the Lewis Carroll Society to try and find a poem to submit.  It is surprisingly hard!  Although we are of course all big fans of "Alice," the fact is that not everyone likes the books, and in fact some people can find them rather frightening.

So my favourite is this one, which is not from "Alice" but was written when Lewis Carroll was watching a little girl playing with her doll.    It's a simple little thing called BESSIE'S SONG TO HER DOLL.  I never played with dolls myself much as a child, actually, but this little poem reminds me so much of when I used to sit watching my own daughters playing with their beloved dolls, and it makes me feel happy.

What do you think?  Do you think it's a good topic for a waiting room poem?

BESSIE'S SONG TO HER DOLL, MATILDA JANE

Matilda Jane, you never look
At any toy or picture-book.
I show you pretty things in vain--
You must be blind, Matilda Jane!

I ask you riddles, tell you tales,
But all our conversation fails.
You never answer me again--
I fear you're dumb, Matilda Jane!

Matilda darling, when I call,
You never seem to hear at all.
I shout with all my might and main--
But you're so deaf, Matilda Jane!

Matilda Jane, you needn't mind,
For, though you're deaf and dumb and blind,
There's SOMEONE loves you, it is plain--
And that is ME, Matilda Jane!

I imagine Matilda Jane - the real one - was a wax doll.   My elder daughter got entirely into wax dolls when she was 3, and we read an Edwardian picture book about a wax doll whose owner took it in the sun. It melted in the heat, and this idea completely fascinated her.  We had nothing but wax dolls for about a year after that!

And thinking about dolls, I realised I hadn't ever shown you the dolls I photographed a couple of years ago when I went to the wonderful doll museum in Coburg, Germany.  Any favourites in the following photos?

















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Seem to be having a bit of a run of toy museums at the moment!   I recommend this one, and also Coburg, which is a most interesting town. 

48 comments:

  1. Omg some of those dolls have very distinct facial expressions. How realistic and kind of amusing :)

    The poem about Matilda Jane I think is fine for the waiting room. I don't know about others but reading anything that relates to my childhood is something that brings a smile on my face. It is comforting.

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    1. Yes I think we all feel like a child inside sometimes.

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  2. Oh my the angry baby is particularly freaky!!

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    1. Not sure I would like to see it every day in the playroom,. it looks so lifelike!

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  3. Hello Jenny, a lovely post! I hadn't heard of the poems in waiting room but what a beautiful idea and I think your selection would be most suitable... it'd put a smile on a face :D)

    I loved seeing all those dolls and my favourite is the 8th photo down - she reminds me of the faces of those bratz dolls that the lady in Australia is removing and then repainting them to look like normal little girls faces. I remember my Nan having a dolly in the tea cosy - beaut seeing one in your lineup! Couldn't stand seeing that crying doll for too long though ;D)
    Cheers now and best wishes :D)

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    1. Yeah, my granny had one of those china dollies not on a tea cosy but on a jewel box. I used to love it!

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  4. That first stanza of the Matilda poem is a killer. Loved the rest. Thanks. :-)

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  5. Alice in Wonderland reveals our brains,
    http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20150225-secrets-of-alice-in-wonderland

    I'm found of the waif with pigtails on the beach, and the pair of Tibetan(Indian) girls. So much personality, distinctive, very interesting.

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    1. Wow Zhoen, what a great link, thanks! I have shared it with others. Yes, the waif is strangely touching, she looks sort of anxious, but quite interesting too.

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  6. How wonderful those dolls are! I loved my family of dolls when I was a little girl. So were all so important to me.

    I'm now going to have to don my thinking cap re poems...I'll see you again after it's begun working. :)

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  7. I've never heard of any of these poems. "Peace" is really beautiful and I think "Bessie's Song to Her Doll" is very appropriate. It's difficult to choose my favorite doll photo. I like the first one - the triplets, and the girl in the pink apron (below the crying boy).

    Glad the comments are appearing again. I was having problems with Internet Explorer so I switched to Google Chrome - but now I'm having different problems. You just can't win.....

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  8. What a vast collection of dolls, all adorable in their own way, and nationality too! Very precious even the little crying baby, she looks old and rather unusual too. I would have really spent forever in a place like that, I just adore dolls!

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  9. The only thing we get in the waiting room is stale magazines, usually that the doctor or his family subscribe to at home, and when they are done reading it, they cut out the address on the cover and bring it in!

    That is a fun poem, even if it's not from Alice. It's one i'd enjoy reading as i waited.

    The first picture of the three baby dolls is my favorite.

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  10. The two little ones in fur buntings! I have an identical picture of my granddaughter, age less than a year. She was a screamer, but when her mother zipped her up in that suit, she immediately flopped over and went to sleep. We called it the scream suit.

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  11. I like the dolls with laughing faces. Some of them look so much like real children, don't they! Never been to Coburg myself.

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  12. What a lovely idea - the Poems in the Waiting Room. And what a great selection of dolls. Does the crying baby's head revolve to show a happy (or preferably sleeping) face? Some of the little horrors do that.
    I like the happy twins with their big sister at the end of your post.

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  13. I recall reading the Matilda Jane poem in the dim and distant past, but think that Poems in the Waiting Room is a lovely idea.
    I have to admit to loving my doll when young. We had a lady who helped my mother and she used to knit me complete outfits for her. The doll had a better wardrobe than me.

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  14. Love the poem - just what you'd need when waiting for the doctor.

    And the dolls are lovely - it's amazing how many different expressions they have! The little cross one feels particularly realistic - I wonder how many children loved that because it's exactly how they feel sometimes!

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  15. Hello Jenny,

    Poems in the Waiting Room sounds like a wonderful idea. Doctors' surgeries can be so unwelcoming and something which lifts the spirits would be very well received by patients we are sure. The poem you have selected sounds a perfect lighthearted choice. A good tribute to Lewis Carroll and perfect waiting room material.

    Dolls did not feature in our childhoods. We have to confess to finding them rather sinister in the main. So, we should give the Doll Museum a miss, we are afraid to say!

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  16. Poetry in the Waiting Room - what a good idea. Loved the pictures of dolls.Librarian is right, some do look like real real children. I can't believe a 'crying' doll was created.

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  17. What lovely dolls, Jenny - I have to choose the blue-eyed blonde.
    Poetry in the Waiting Room is a wonderful idea, which I have never heard of or seen in Australia. I will try to find out more about it, and mention it to my doctor. The tattered and outdated magazines one usually finds are so depressing; how much better to have a Poem to ponder!

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  18. I loved my dolls and was sad that when I turned 12, that I had to put them away. They all had personalities that I had given them and they were such fun for me when I wanted to go in my little world. I have always had a good imagination and I think that comes, in part, to playing with dolls.

    I loved the poem, Matilda Jane, and all the dolls were fascinating, except for the crying one. It kind of reminded me of the movie, Chucky. I don't think I would want to wake up in the morning and see it on my bed.j

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  19. I'm weird, but I don't like dolls, find them a bit creepy. Love everything that goes with them, carriages, tea sets, rattles, but not the dolls themselves--they scare me--rather like clowns.

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  20. I loved the Lewis Carroll poem, but those dolls at the German museum are way to realistic!

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  21. Are the waiting room poem just for children? Adults might like them too. Poetry can soothe any breast, savage, in pain or just sad. Poetry heals, is my firm conviction. I’ve never heard of PITWR, it’s a brilliant idea. I bet I could interest my surgery in it/them too.

    Those dolls are beautiful. Like you, I never played with them much. I only ever had a rag doll which I loved, judging from photographs of me clutching it.

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  22. I know I would never want a crying doll--LOL! What an array, though! All were probably well-loved.
    Never heard of poetry in the waiting room, but I know I would rather read that than the old magazines. :)

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  23. Well, the doll photos are amazing. I would certainly like to visit that museum. Barbie, not so much -- but those precious older ones. Wow.

    Matilda Jane is a perfect poem for the waiting room (which, by the way, is a great idea). I can imagine a mother waiting with her daughter and reading that poem to her while they wait for the doc and the little girl smiling, forgetting the shot that is sure to come!

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  24. I know this makes me sound like a Neanderthal, but my brain is not wired for poetry.

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  25. I wouldn't say favourite, but the one that immediately stood out for me was the angry baby! We're so used to dolls that look happy or at least neutral, a miserable one is quite startling! But I also like the girl in the white dress and long necklace, just because I love both the dress and the necklace.

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  26. With some of the shit on offer in my GP's waiting room, they would receive a hearty welcome! What a wonderful post, Jenny. Those pictures are fascinating.......and Matilda Jane....left me speechless!

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  27. Poems in the Waiting Room is a beautiful concept and no doubt brings comfort to patients and family as they wait for the doctor. I love the poem on Peace. The dolls are all beautiful and remind me of the kind I cherished as a child. If dolls could talk can you imagine the secrets they would bring forth?
    A beautiful post Jenny. Have a delightful week and glad your comments button is sorted.
    Helenx

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  28. I think the first poem is suitable - just a gut feeling. The fifth doll stands out in my mind far and away above the others. The face is so expressive; so wistful; so querulous. That is a face that I could look at for hours and still never know what was behind the eyes.....and yet I would always know.

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  29. I love the doll in the peachy pinafore.
    That's a lovely poem, and would be welcomed by me if I found it in a waiting room. I always have anxiety before seeing a doctor. It's nice to know that there are people trying to make patients like me feel better.

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    1. I wish we could have had that poem too but the other people on the committee weren't keen. It is very nice to pick up the leaflet and read those poems when waiting at the doctors. We now sponsor our local surgery after enjoying the poems so much.

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  30. Those dolls are so expressive. When you see so many together, you realise how different they are to one another. I like the twins in the seventh picture.

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    1. This is definitely one of the things I liked about the museum. Someone else suggested I did a post and so I might see if I can combine it with another German toy museum I went to. They do great toys in Germany.

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  31. Thank you Jenny for your kind visit. You are most welcome to join me for tea.
    Wow these dolls are so adorable, they are very life-like.

    Have a good week.

    Aida

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    1. Thank you, I will be there at three o'clock for tea! :)

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  32. Never heard of Poems in the Waiting Room but what a great idea. I think "Matilda Jane" would be a good one to publish. I really enjoyed the dolls you showed us from the museum. Maybe someday you can give us a post/tour of the place. It looks so interesting.

    Darla

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    1. It was wonderful Darla, although not all the dolls were that appealing, they were all interesting. I spent hours and hours in the museum, fascinated. It was hard to take good photos - always is in museums. I think it's the glass cases. I had to photoshop a few reflections out here and there. (HOpe that is not cheating!)

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  33. Thanks for the Poems in the Waiting Room introduction- what a great idea, although I’ll be the lone voice saying that the Matilda Jane poem doesn’t do a lot for me and probably wouldn’t be accepted due to the antiquated use of the words blind, deaf and dumb - especially in a doctor’s waiting room (even though the concept is fine). The dolls are all beautiful and I have always had a thing about them; some very expressive ones here.

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    1. Mm, I hadn't thought about the use of language at all, and in fact you are quite right. I have to say that the committee didn't like Matilda Jane, and have gone for one of the poems in Alice. That might be more appropriate but it's a bit hard to find one that isn't either (a) too long or (b) a bit creepy too.

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  34. Hi Jenny - I'm afraid I'm way behind on catching up with blogs! I've never heard of, or seen, poems in the waiting room, but it's a marvellous idea - a nice change from leafing through dog-eared copies of 'Tractor Weakly' (or whatever). And I loved 'Matilda and Jane' - it reminded me of rhymes my mother used to read to me when I was little. I find dolls can be fascinating, but also creepy; and I can't shake off the image of the head of a china doll photographed near the wreck of the Titanic.

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    1. I think that horror film makers have probably over used the image of creepy dolls, though, don't you? Mind you some you see in museums can be pretty startling.

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  35. I have to say I'm not a fan of dolls, they always seem a bit creepy to me, particularly the angry baby!!


    Clever idea with the poems in the waiting room though.

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    1. The baby seems quite lifelike to me, but what is odd is the idea of making that its permanent expression. Who would want to dress it up and look after it? hmmm

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  36. I'm not sure why but most dolls creep me out. I have issues. But I'm totally fine with clowns which seems to be something that creeps out most people.
    And in the US we don't get nice poems, we get the bill. No really, they send a person to discuss payment when you are receiving treatment. Bastards.

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    1. If you are creeped out by dolls then you should see some of the REALLY scary ones in German museums. I nearly ran out screaming from a museum in Nuremberg. I find those kind of dolls rather fascinating though.

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