Tuesday, April 01, 2008

There seem to be national months and days for just about everything - an odd change in my lifetime. But April is "National Poetry Month" and, with the encouragement of my wonderful writers' group, I just started participating in a challenge to write a poem a day (to prompts) for April. For any poets who may have stumbled upon my blog, here's the link. http://blog.writersdigest.com/poeticasides/CommentView.aspx?guid=eebe5fc3-520c-4fe9-ab92-c1e35ee4956a If any of you write a poem for today's prompt, or any day's prompt, I'd love it if you shared it in my comments. These are supposed to be rough - to be revised in May if we want, rough draft poems just to get the juices flowing. The first prompt was to write about any kind of first, and so I wrote.

First Poem

At Broad Oaks Nursery School
In Whittier California the teachers
kept chickens, ducks and rabbits.
The cook let us frost our very own
birthday cakes in her big kitchen
And Daddy came one Friday to
teach us the names of the planets.
At Broad Oaks Nursery School
the swings were shaded by the oaks
and I remember the moment,
my legs pumping full out,
that my mind took flight and
grabbed hold of its very first poem.
"I can fly through the sky if I try."
Fifty four years later, I'm still trying.

Victoria Hendricks, April 1, 2008

2 comments:

Ruth said...

I love this poem--both the sentiment and the style (it's the style of poem I really enjoy).

Dixi said...

Your poem is excellent, Victoria. I wrote a "First" poem too; and, though it is still in rough form, I will share it here, even though unfortunately the line spacing does not come out correctly:

First Funerals

My first funeral was that of my grandmother
who I had to kiss when she was in the coffin
when I was five or six; and she was cold
and this memory has never left me; and
I wish my mother had not had me kiss her.

My second funeral was for my dad's father
who I didn't really know well and mostly
I remember kids shuffling feet on the carpet,
then getting shocks on the metal bubbler,
having fun. I didn't know or have feelings
about the deceased, but this was the
first time I knew that you could shock
someone by shuffling on the carpet.

In seventh and eighth grades my class
at St Paul Lutheran School sang
for all congregational funerals, and
if someone died, the class practiced
hymns in the morning, had less school
in the afternoon of the funeral. We sat
in the church balcony, oversaw all,
the usually open casket, tearful mourners
paying their last respects, casket closed,
our teacher pounding the organ, one
hymn after another, the minister's sermon
about the life of the deceased, our hymms
sung, "Nearer my God to Thee," "Just as
I Am," "I'm But a Stranger Here"from our
repertoire drawn from the Lutheran hymnal,
our voices young fresh angelic pure so beautiful
and comforting to those who mourned the
unknown person below and no mourners
realized that more than anything we were kids
happy to have less school that day, time to
fool around quietly behind the back of our
organ-playing teacher who had prepared us
so well for our duty.The saddest funeral
we sang for was for the teen-age brother
of a classmate who died in the lake
his head cut by an outboard motor
propeller, and I will always remember
the open casket, still visible scar, and we all
filed past this young man, choked up
and eyes full of tears, before we went
up to our balcony to sing, and as I look
back now I realize that for me this is when
death became possible.