I think about these words a lot. Rereading them in their entirety, now, I’m surprised more of us that grew up reading the Mary Poppins books don’t have these images lingering in our spiritual minds..
“Good girl!” croaked the Starling approvingly. He cocked his head on one side and gazed at her with his round bright eye. “I hope,” he remarked politely, “you are not too tired after your journey.”
Annabel shook her head.
“Where has she come from–out of an egg?” cheeped the Fledgling suddenly.
“Huh-huh!” scoffed Mary Poppins. “Do you think she’s a sparrer?”
The Starling gave her a pained and haughty look.
“Well, what is she then? And where did she come from?” cried the Fledgling shrilly, flapping his short wings and staring down at the cradle.
“You tell him, Annabel!” the Starling croaked.
Annabel moved her hands inside the blanket.
“I am earth and air and fire and water,” she said softly. “I come from the Dark where all things have their beginning.”
“Ah, such a dark!” said the Starling softly, bending his head to his breast.
“It was dark in the egg, too,” the Fledging cheeped.
“I come from the sea and its tide,” Annabel went on. “I come from the sky and its stars. I come from the sun and its brightness– –“
“Ah, so bright!” said the Starling, nodding.
“And I come from the forests of earth.”
As if in a dream, Mary Poppins rocked the cradle–to-and-fro, to-and-fro with a steady swinging movement.
“Yes?” whispered the Fledgling.
“Slowly I moved at first,” said Annabel, “always sleeping and dreaming. I remembered all that I had been and I thought of all I shall be. And when I had dreamed by dream I awoke and came swiftly.”
She paused for a moment, her blue eyes full of memories.
“And then?” prompted the Fledgling.
“I heard the stars singing as I came and I felt warm wings about me. I passed the beasts of the jungle and came through the dark, deep waters. It was a long journey.”
Annabel was silent.
The Fledgling stared at her with his bright inquisitive eyes.
Mary Poppins’ hand lay quietly on the side of the cradle. She had stopped rocking.
“A long journey indeed!” said the Starling softly, lifting his head from his breast. “And, ah, so soon forgotten!”
Annabel stirred under the quilt.
“No!” she said confidently. “I’ll never forget.”
“Stuff and Nonsense, Beaks and Claws, of course you will! By the time the week’s out you won’t remember a word of it–what you are or where you came from!”
Inside her flannel petticoat Annabel was kicking furiously.
“I will! I will! How could I forget?”
“Because they all do!” jeered the Starling harshly. “Every silly human except–” he nodded his head at Mary Poppins–“her! She’s Different, she’s the Oddity, she’s the Misfit– –“
“You Sparrer!” cried Mary Poppins, making a dart at him….
“I don’t believe you! I won’t believe you!, cried Annabel wildly.
–Mary Poppins Comes Back, by PL Travers