Celebrating National Poetry MonthThis is a first draft of a poem that I am posting today. I sat down this morning and wrote it. A first draft will always change. There will invariably be ways to improve it, tweak it, expand it or contract it to create a better poem. Moreover, no poem is complete until it has had a chance to "rest" for a few months. The reason I post this one today is that I am determined to use National Poetry Month as an impetus to put more poems on paper. I also want to promote the art and to encourage everyone who reads this post to take some time to write your own poem. No one can speak to your experience better than you can.
My Father at 58
At certain times
I stop to check my life.
Where am I going?
How am I doing?
Where might I be headed?
Am I doing okay?
My automatic measure is to ask,
Where was my father at this point in his life?
Just as I walked in his shadow on summer days
Trying to match my steps to his
As we walked down toward the pond,
Even now I tend to automatically measure my steps to his
To see how I’m doing.
I count back the years –
Where was my father when he was 58?
Oh, but that was 1968.
A year of upheaval.
Our small community was frightened
By racial integration.
Our larger community was shocked by assassinations.
My father took one day at a time.
He did his best as teacher
To prepare one school for change.
He did his best
To provide for a family
And to see to our future
During unsettling times.
Turning my eyes to the present day,
I think I can be happy
Taking one day at a time.
I can keep on going
Because he made it through
Those unsettling times.
~ Charles Kinnaird