Welcome back, friends!
Today I am sharing a poem I wrote when I was about 16 years old. I wrote it as part of a homework assignment for one of my classes in high school (read more about my boarding school here).
This particular class was taught by Miss Brookes, a teacher who taught several literature and English courses in the school.
One of the things I appreciated about Miss Brookes is that she introduced us to various styles of writing that were totally new to us. In her class, we got lots of practice writing all types of poems. One of these is the sestina. Not sure what a sestina is? Not to worry! Wikipedia’s got us covered :)
A sestina (Old Occitan: cledisat [klediˈzat]; also known as sestine, sextine, sextain) is a fixed verse form consisting of six stanzas of six lines each, normally followed by a three-line envoi. The words that end each line of the first stanza are used as line endings in each of the following stanzas, rotated in a set pattern.
Sestinas have a very strict pattern which follows this structure:
1 2 3 4 5 6
6 1 5 2 4 3
3 6 4 1 2 5
5 3 2 6 1 4
4 5 1 3 6 2
2 4 6 5 3 1
(6 2) (1 4) (5 3)
As I wrote this 17 years ago, I don’t remember a whole lot about my writing process. However, I do remember first looking at the poem’s structure and thinking that it would be an exciting challenge. I can only imagine that it must have been pretty difficult figuring out how to write anything whilst adhering to this super rigid structure.
In any case, the poem I wrote is about my dad. He is someone who taught all of his kids the value of hard work. He embodies real grit, bigtime smarts, and some serious “stick-with-it’ness.” For as long as I can remember, he was up before the sun, and worked grueling hours 6 (sometimes 7) days a week. And at the end of a long day, he had the energy to play chess or checkers with his kids before falling asleep on the couch.
And all these years later, he’s still at it, EXACTLY the same as always! Going strong in his 70’s!
Dad, this one’s for you! :)
Entrepreneur, Provider, Disciplinarian; DAD.
He’s known for deep thoughts and great work –
Why does he have the motivation to work so hard?
How does he juggle work and those he loves?
The seconds at the factory do not readily turn to hours,
Nor do the hours flow quickly into a complete day.
Every morning before tackling the long day,
I hear the unique sound of my dad.
The morning has begun with quiet red hours,
But before my father rushes off to work,
He pats us on our backs and reminds us of his love.
I know that washing us grow up must be hard.
He eats a big breakfast to keep him going hard
Dad needs an extra boost to start his working day.
He works like this for honor and for love,
If he didn’t, he wouldn’t be a real dad.
The factory amazes and confuses me; how does it work?
It runs under dad and through every day’s hour.
My dad is tired, but it is not the resting hour.
He must not sleep, although exhaustion tries sohard
To overwhelm him. He must support his family through his work
And work is not limited to light hours of the day.
He’s tired… but wanting more than sleep – to be a good dad,
A father who supports his family with life and love.
He doesn’t show it like how the world thinks of love,
Like expensive presents or a few measly hours.
No, he’s not the typical, everyday dad.
I’m glad he’s not, although accepting this washard.
Maybe I’ll thank him for everything one day
And ask him to teach me his life’s work.
At the end of the day, as he arrives home from work,
He pats our back and declares again, his love.
I can tell from his face that it was a long day,
I can tell it’s been long from the time of the hour.
How does he go on after trying so hard?
I am so lucky to have him as my dad.
Still, he has the strength for checkers at this hour.
He always wins, but he pretends that it is hard.
What a lucky girl I am to have him as my dad.
Do you know how to play checkers or chess? What was your favorite class in high school or college? (Mine was 9th grade Biology with Mr. Schuit!)