Monday, April 26, 2010

NaPoWriMo #26 - Poetry from Strangers

If you were on school vacation last week, I hope that you had a wonderful time.  You may not have known it was TV Turnoff Week; the NaPoWriMo poems here all focused on fun things to do instead of watching television.  This week's poems will once again be a mish-mash, but if you'd like to read what you missed, check out the right sidebar for a list and links.

Poems come from every corner of life.

Waiting in line at a convenience store last week, I found myself in front of a man talking with a young employee of the shop.  It was a halting conversation, and I overheard the older man say,  "You know, the other day I came across some old pictures of you.  You were such a little guy."

The younger man looked a bit awkward, and they talked about nothing-and-everything for a few moments before they shook hands as the older man said, "Well, see you soon sometime."

I looked at the man's face as the red-shirted teenager walked away, "That's my son,"  he told me.  "It's been five years since I've seen him."  He sighed and wiped a tear from his eye, "I used to change his diapers.  I'm here to buy hot dog rolls so I can see him at work."  The father shook his head.

For me, this was a rare glance inside of a stranger's soul and a deep wish to comfort that stranger's soul.  I said the only thing I could think to say, "You're right to be here.  Whatever happened before is in the past.  What you do now is important, it matters."

That boy may be angry forever.  Maybe he should be.  He may reject his father's overtures, and I may be completely wrong.  But I do believe in forgiveness and in hope and in the power of a child's love.  So this poem is for them, the father and son at Wilson Farms.

Everywhere and everyday, people live out loud around us.  If we watch and pay attention, we may hear poems in between their words and actions. 

(Please click on COMMENTS below to share a thought.)


  1. Oh, wow.

    This, itself, is a little poem:

    "Everywhere and everyday, people live out loud around us. If we watch and pay attention, we may hear poems in between their words and actions. "

    Thanks for the Monday inspiration to be more awake and aware.

  2. Your experience and this poem are so powerful. It touched my heart to imagine this dad trying to reach out. I didn't read this one to my students today but went back to the fun poems of last week. We had a good talk about TV! We also had fun trying the disappearing coin trick!

  3. Mary Lee,
    Thank you for your was quite an experience to be shopping in that place at that time.

    I wish I could have been a fly on the wall watching them try to do the trick. I hope at least one person could!

  4. I thought this was a poem about a father coming home from the service at first. So many soldiers come home as strangers to their children and often the reactions are not positive.

  5. You have captured the essence of that encounter so beautifully - the yearning of the father to connect, and the deep-down insecurity of the child. Anger,hurt, resentment and, yes, love and forgiveness...

  6. Wow, Eileen. I appreciate that perspective. I love that this poem could be read in that way as well; it allows more readers in differently. Thank you for telling me!


    Thank you so much for your words. My breath was gone on the drive home from that little shopping trip, that's for sure.