“Write a poem,” he commanded,
A pencil hit the desk.
“I want to see if you are able
To come up to the task.”
Eyes wide, cheeks aflame,
I looked down to see
A single stanza – my grandpa’s poem
To be added to by me.
“One day I sat down to see
If I could write some poetry
And found I had a hectic time,
To get the silly stuff to rhyme.”
I pondered each and every line,
Oh, my! How can I add more?
I wanted to please my daddy,
But I’d never done this before.
Like a lightning bolt, it came to me,
The pencil began to fly,
As the words flowed through my brain
I rhymed line after line.
The clock ticked, the minutes passed,
The paper filled with verse.
I’d re-created the poem
And could certainly have done worse.
My father read my offering,
A smile slowly replaced a frown.
“I think you’ve done it, Dotter,
The legacy has been handed down.”
I’ve written poetry since that day,
With confidence; without fear,
All because of my father –
Now you know how I got here.
© 2011 Debra Shiveley Welch 2011
The poem - written in approximately 10 minutes at age 11
One day I sat down to see
If I could write some poetry,
And found I had a hectic time
To get the silly stuff to rhyme.
(Proxy, © 1939 Homer Alva Shiveley)
No words would go either here or there,
They simply refused to go anywhere,
And so with a sad and doleful frown,
I slowly put my pencil down,
Instead of trying to go on again –
I wouldn’t do it at all – if I couldn’t do it then.
Maybe if I had worked long enough,
I could finally have written the kind of stuff
That poets get paid for, every day,
But, no, I had to have it my way.
So I’ll tell you something you all should know,
Don’t every quit 'till you’ve reached your goal.
Don’t do as I did, and quit, just like that.
If at first you strike out, go back up to bat!
© Debra Shiveley Welch 1978/2012