Monday, August 21, 2006

A Dad / Daughter Poem

I've replaced the original poem posted here with a different dad/daughter poem. I'll leave the picture. Some people in the comments box feel that the picture is the poem anyway!

The Future

The future buries itself in green fields
or blows like ash down universal corridors.

It fails to warn the girl
stepping into a park
grey with bushes and shadows,
or the newborns smothered by a nurse
while their mothers slept.

I kiss my daughter, tell her I’ll be back
at 5. She holds me tight and then trusts me
to the wind, street-corners, traffic.

But the future has no sense
of fair play. It is blind as stone
and in thrall to its own reflexes –
sneaking glances over its shoulder,
paranoid there’s something out there
beyond itself.


Aisha said...



The opening is terrific... I even wonder if the first strophe is the poem (but critters are always saying that)-- the rest is very good too!


Aisha said...

I was too quick: I would include the Goldilocks, then stop...if it were me with the short attention span.

Cute kid BTW.

Aish Again

C. E. Chaffin said...

This has to be a first draft. Way too much telling. If it was more powerful I might credit it; as it is, it is hardly poetry, more a presentation of a daughter with philosphical speculations broken into lines.

I try to tell the truth, Rob. I have no agenda and I'm not in competition. If it's not what you want I will recuse myself.

Rob Mackenzie said...

Aisha - thanks. Often what happens is that I write a poem of 43 lines and gradually cut it down over a period of years until it ends up less than half the length. I can already see a line or two I'd like to cut from this one, which has got to be a good sign.

"philisophical speculations broken into lines" - Heh. C.E., that's what a lot of my poetry is! But yes, it is an early draft and no doubt needs more work. I don't mind negative criticism at all, by the way. I like people being honest about what they think, and usually I learn from it.

Aisha said...

Remember when I wrote about my grandfather and oyu guys got it ALL wrong?

Being close to the subject makes this a HARD exercise: and of course it is a first draft. I see a poem in the last stanza too, which is ... is... kids: oblivious to social norms. (I got scowled at only three days ago on a bus with Paula over here :)) Too loud! But I didnt answer back...

Larry said...

It must be said that she really is a darling tiger/cat/space-thing in that picture.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Larry. The picture IS the poem.


Rob Mackenzie said...

Thanks for commenting, folks.

As for "the picture IS the poem," that might be true, but I might have a job convincing Poetry Review of that!

Yesterday, the 13-year-old daughter of one of my friends was beaten up by a gang of 14-year-olds - cracked ribs, broken jaw, head smashed off the pavement several times, a metal headband kicked so that it became embedded in her skull. I dropped in to see her today. That's the environment my daughter is growing up into. And yes, I know there is another side, and the majority of people are decent human beings, and the girls that assaulted my friend's daughter came from disfunctional, crazy families and no doubt deserve pity as much as anything else, but the irony in the poem, if I revised it today, would clothe itself in sheer fury. Best to leave it...

Aisha said...

Not surprised you are concerned.

Rough the elephant's skin.

It helps to smile at people. If not, to look like a feline predator may deter. Her best protection seems to be her father, until then.

She'll be fine.

Rob Mackenzie said...

I've put it through a stiff revision. It's now in the post, although I've a feeling I might like this poem more than anyone else ever will.

aisha - yes, she is resilient. And I think she will do OK.
She did say "Fuck!", with a bright smile, to her nursery school teacher a couple of days ago!