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March 19, 2014 / ldejong4

A Dutch Tradition

In my late teens something disastrous happened to me right before Christmas. My Dutch father decided to assign us all homework for Christmas; a peculiar tradition taken from one of many in the Netherlands. There, at Christmas and other special occasions like weddings or birthdays, friends and family write poetry for each other. Before you get excited, it’s nothing frilly like we’re used to here in Ireland. I’m talking awfully rhyming, punch throwing for a cheap laugh type of stuff. And this has been our household Christmas ritual ever since. We take a name from a hat a month or so in advance, buy a gift and throw together a few witty but cheesy lines with the aid of a rhyming site in the hour before stuffing our faces with turkey and ham.

I dread writing the poem and even more so receiving the lines written for me. All I want to do is curl up on the couch with my selection box and watch Home Alone for the tenth time without having to worry about rhyming Thomas with words other than those ending in -ass and learn what my family really think of me.

Well, here now is my confession. I slowly started to put a little more thought into those rhymes. And that’s how I realised that writing is one of the only things I do where I lose the concept of time. I missed Home Alone!

I began to look at writing in a new way. It was no longer a few pages to fill with memorised Shakespeare quotes and learned off essays about Ireland’s future with the intention to secure at least a C grade in the Irish Leaving Cert. It was a blank page to play with. Yes, I had a topic but I began to experiment. One year I mixed English and Dutch, another year I sang my rhyme to the tune of My Favourite Things from The Sound of Music. And this year, I just went for it I guess. I tried my best to use my feelings of us fighting when we were young, which have thankfully now matured. So here you are, a poem to my younger brother, a former Harry Potter lookalike, who now claims to be studying Chemical Engineering abroad but I secretly think he is Harry Potter. Enjoy!


Dear Brother

Dear brother,

I hated you, you know. Those times you pulled my hair and I scream, running free then brushing out wads like a patient in therapy

You got more stories read to you at bedtime than I ever did. Learning all those big long words. Sounding all clever and shit; relatives raving over your wit

Then you wrecked my head with your stupid squeaky little violin. Living out your dreams as you grew tall and remained nothing else but thin

And then, your life was almost over as you fell victim of your own fantasy. A lookalike, Harry Potter. They had it down to a tee

I was watching you, you know. How you could reach out and touch the stories told. How you inhaled those books of Hogwarths and how you never grew old

And I continued watching, you know. How you chose potions and cauldrons over music. To be a scientist? Yeah right! I knew what made you tick

And now I see you. The boy who lived and forever you shall. Home for Christmas with stories of your own to tell. I kinda like you now, so let’s be pals

One piece of advice my brother so dear. Your music is now great, putting me to shame. So good, it will scare off he-who-must not-be-named

So continue playing, create the magic notes with your hands as it will forever carry you to your favourite far away mystical lands



One Comment

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  1. Donal O'Conghaile (@Donal_IRL) / Mar 20 2014 4:38 pm

    All this time your brother was Harry Potter and you never told me?!

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