April is National Poetry Month, and it occurs to me that you may be wondering how Madison and I began playing together. An excerpt from my forthcoming memoir tells the tale:
A year and change after my unplanned viewing of the Tim Burton Alice in Wonderland, I really got to know my guardian angel. It was June 2011, and I was on the computer seeking to download stills from the film to use as wallpaper on my Mac. On some fan site, I found a beautiful wallpaper with the Hatter’s picture and a poem written in what one presumed to be a Hatter-ish voice.
Not bad, I thought. And then that English-accented voice I’d heard in my inner ear during the film piped up in my head again quietly, politely, almost shyly:
“I could do better…”
“What do you mean?”, I asked aloud.
Inside, the response, “Well look, it’s not even in a proper form. It needs to be a sonnet!”
“A sonnet? But I haven’t written one of those since my first undergraduate degree!”
Again, no reply.
Well, being a creative person who has had encounters of the inspirational kind before, I know a directive from Spirit when I hear it. So I went with this suggestion, but first, I looked up the definition of “sonnet” in my copy of the Oxford American Dictionary, just to make certain I was remembering things correctly. Sonnet: 14 lines. Got it!
I took out a pen and some paper. I began writing, and then laughing as, 15 minutes later, we had:
If I were not mad, what on earth would I be?
‘Tis an unlikely prospect, I’m sure you’ll agree.
Those voices that whisper when no one is near--
their meaning is all too entirely clear.
I laugh out of turn and sing in the rain;
To me, this is custom, to others, insane.
My past is a mystery shrouded in dreams,
concealed by blue starlight, and moonlit by streams.
My present meanders up uncommon roads,
and as for my future, who knows what it holds?
My friends? They’re a mixture of whimsy and wise
who come round the bend to drink tea in disguise.
In a world where 1 + 1 = 3,
If I were not mad, well then, who would I be?
Who indeed? The voice was familiar, like a long-lost friend. The name and profession, “Madison Hatta, Sonneteer” came with the poems. And the sonnets are neither Petrarchan nor Elizabethan in style but are, quite simply, Madisonian.
You can hear Madison declaiming this Madisonnet through me in this recent podcast interview on the Dancing Bear Enlightenment Academy's YouTube channel. And if you’re eager for more rhymes, I (plus Madison) have a calendar full of them in our Zazzle store.