You asked me to write you a poem
About bringing you beautiful flowers
I thought about spinning slow verses
Unfurled in deliberate hours
But amidst the hair pulling and shouting
And laughing and singing and climbing
I find I’m increasingly doubting
That you give a fig about rhyming
So these quick-crafted lines must suffice
And although concentration is nice
And finishing is pleasant
What you want is presence not presents
Note: I was working on The Book Concert when Rose asked me to write her a poem. I started with just a few lines, but meanwhile she shedding glitter everywhere in her new Sleeping Beauty Halloween costume, stealing my glasses, putting her feet on me, singing songs, and putting clips in my hair.
I read her the first three lines and she said ‘that’s great, thanks!’ and I thought, ‘it isn’t done!’, but it was about the gesture.
So somehow it seemed best to embrace the unevenness, the changing rhyme scheme, the not-quite sonnet-like form, the line that doesn’t scan. Because that is far truer to parenthood. And a gift should be about the recipient.
I just asked her if she wanted to hear the finished poem, and she said. ‘Not yet, I’m still finishing your hair, dear.’
If there’s anything a poet should know, it’s that timing is everything.