predictions

Jim Culleny’s daily poetry email (see below) brought back the memory of my grandmother pouring the hot wax from a melted blessed candle, through strands of blessed straw, into a bowl of cold holy water and then placing the bowl under my toddler brother’s crib. The image that congealed when the wax hardened would tell my mother what was causing my brother’s nightmares.
In the morning, when we looked at the image, it was as close to the face of Mr. Bluster (of Howdy Doody fame} as a blob of hard wax could look. Sure enough, and strangely enough, my brother was afraid of the blustery Mr. Bluster.
That same grandmother saved my life, once, with her old wives’ ways, and I wrote a poem about that experience, which I blogged here.
And now, here’s the poem — actually Suzanne Vega lyrics — that prompted this post today:

Predictions
song by Suzanne Vega
Let’s tell the future
Let’s see how it’s been done.
By numbers. By mirrors. By water.
By dots made at random on paper.
By salt. By dice.
By meal. By mice.
By dough of cakes.
By sacrificial fire.
By fountains. By fishes.
Writing in ashes.
Birds. Herbs.
Smoke from the altar.
A suspended ring or the mode of laughing
Pebbles drawn from a heap
One of these things
Will tell you something.
Let’s tell the future
Let’s see how it’s been done.
By dreams. By the features. By letters.
By dropping hot wax into water.
By nails reflecting the rays of the sun.
By waling in a circle.
By red hot iron.
By passages in books.
A balanced hatchet.
A suspended ring or the mode of laughing
Pebbles drawn from a heap
One of these things
Will tell you something.
Let’s tell the future
Let’s see how it’s been done.
How it’s been done.


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Which all makes me realize that there is another legacy left to me that I hope my daughter will want — the set of crystal cups, now probably more than a century old, that my grandmother used to save my little life.