Category Archives: poem about childhood

Recognition

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Recognition

Filthy little urchin, dirty little boy—
who could tell from looking that you’d be such a joy?
We never would have chosen you by following our nose,
but when we scraped the dirt off and laundered all your clothes,
we recognized you as our own, devoid of dirt and grime,
and now that you are  family and with us all the time,
mud puddles still attract you. Dirt piles call your name.
But now it doesn’t matter. We love you all the same.

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/filthy/

At First

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At First

Days were not over half so soon
when we ate passion with a spoon.
Swirled chocolate at the Frosty Freeze

melting in the prairie breeze
hot and redolent of soil—
chaff of wheat and rattled coil.
Summer days and summer nights,
rolls in grass and water fights
with uncoiled hoses, cooking pans,
rolled up cuffs and soaked white Vans.

Passion then was not so much
a thing of kissing or of  touch
as of smells and sights and taste.
Baking beans and paper paste.
Brand new tablets, pencil shavings.
Summer nights, then autumn cravings.
Cattle lowing, school bells,
Cool spring water from deep wells.
Throats that ached from drinking it,
brought to light from ancient pit.

All these simple remembered things
that thinking about passion brings:
spin-overs on the monkey bars,
rides on bikes and naming stars.
It’s true some passion rides on night
with pressing lips and gentle bite,
or trembles on the fingertips
straying over breasts or hips.

Yet simpler loves bring lesser rations
of what adults consider passions.
Words like passion must be allowed
to be unfettered, like a cloud
and not confined in connotation,
dictionary or denotation.
Sometimes passion can be bright—
A meadowlark or soaring kite.
Sun-chapped lips just touched with mist
long before they’re ever kissed.

The prompt word today was “Passionate.”

God’s Assembly Place

God’s Assembly Place

Leaving the Masons’ Lodge behind,
there was Mrs. Shimer’s cool dark little house
and the grade school slides to pass,
then spirea bushes to pull the petals from
before I reached the mysterious brick church
nestled in trees across from the lumber yard.

The sign said “Assembly of God.”
Everyone else said, “holy rollers and speakers in tongues,”
but they threw the best Bible school of the summer.
My mom let me attend them all: Lutheran,
Community Bible, Seven Day Adventist, Assembly of God
and our own Church––Methodist.

The Community Bible Church called us Jet Cadets
who made progress through the skies
by attendance and memorizing Bible verses.
The Methodists had the best art supplies,
but the Assembly of God
had that aura of mystery–
as though God had assembled us all there for a special purpose.

Because I had heard what went on there
when I wasn’t present,
I was the Nancy Drew of vacation Bible school,
looking fruitlessly for clues
as I made do with Kool Aid,
peanut butter cookies and
mimeographed pictures of Bible stories to color.

Then every day, the short walk home again
through that bridal path of spilled spirea blossoms,
with faith that tomorrow
religion just might turn into that great adventure
that I knew I was born to.

Thanks Whimsygizmo for leading me to this prompt with your wonderful poem. Readers, if you want to participate in the Writer’s Digest prompts, find them here:
Poetic Asides

I Used to Eat Red

                                                                  I Used to Eat Red

daily life color108 (1)My sister Patti and I, posed by my older sister Betty.  Those are “the” cherry trees behind us. The fact that we were wearing dresses suggests we were just home from Sunday school and church, our souls bleached as white as our shoes and socks!

 I used to eat red
from backyard cherry trees,
weave yellow dandelions
into cowgirl ropes
to lariat my Cheyenne uncle.

I once watched dull writhing gold
snatched from a haystack by its tail,
held by a work boot
and stilled by the pitchfork of my dad
who cut me rattles while I didn’t watch.

 I felt white muslin bleached into my soul
on Sunday mornings in a hard rear pew,
God in my pinafore pocket
with a picture of Jesus
won from memorizing psalms.

But it was black I heard at midnight from my upstairs window––
the low of cattle from the stock pens

on the other side of town––
the long and lonely whine of diesels on the road
to the furthest countries of my mind.

Where I would walk
burnt sienna pathways
to hear green birds sing a jungle song,
gray gulls call an ocean song,
peacocks cry the moon

until I woke to shade-sliced yellow,
mourning doves still crooning midnight songs of Persia
as I heard morning
whistled from a meadowlark
half a block away.

And then,
my white soul in my shorts pocket,
plunging down the stairs to my backyard,
I used to eat red,
pick dandelions yellow.

 (This is a reworking of a poem from my book Prairie Moths.) The prompt today was to talk about our earliest childhood memories.  https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/childhood-revisited/

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Companionable.” Head to one of your favorite blogs. Write a companion piece to their penultimate post.

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As I lie

Once, in that long dream of childhood, I
assumed that I would be a child forever,
slipping between the lives of adults, somewhat

off. The wrong hairdo, clothes
in my closet hanging in
that off-kilter way

like teeth missing in a child’s mouth, others grown half-way
in to not quite meet their lower neighbor.
It was a mystery

where I’d fit in adult life––
The job I’d do,
the children I’d tell what to do;

and I never quite found the answer, although
my teeth grew in, to meet
each other in the middle.

Blooming, after their
crimson exit––
two by two, they nourished a life,

burying childhood
like
a lie.

I chose S. Thomas Summers’ poem, “As a Child” as a springboard for my poem. Rather than use his poem as a theme, instead I used the first word of each of his lines as the first word in each of my lines. Go here to read his excellent poem: https://inkhammer.wordpress.com/2015/11/01/once-i/