Chuck Toll

Swimming Lesson - Poem by Chuck Toll

Enough! bellowed Father,
I’ve had it to here!
The bickering must stop.
We need more good cheer!

Can’t a man live in peace
In his house without rant?
For once just be civil,
Don’t tell me you can’t.

You’re sisters, for God’s sake!
You all should be friends.
So stop splitting your time
Between feuds and amends.

You’re making me bonkers
Driving me to the bottle
And I’m starting to dream
About four I might throttle.

Ellen and Sherry,
You know proper behavior,
So help Laura and Andi
Knock it off. Be their savior!

If you four wash the dishes
A full month without fighting,
I’ll buy you a pool.
Doesn’t that sound exciting?

The daughters agreed
That a pool would be nice
So they pledged to display
Only sugar and spice.

But the plan only lasted
Through day number two.
The twins went at it again
Before you could say boo.

Ellen and Sherry,
Saw themselves treated poorly:
How was it their fault
The twins were so surly?

Not their fault, they protested
That the twins were like cats
Genetically programmed
For hissing and spats.

They never considered
An alternate way:
Do the dishes themselves
Send the twins off to play.

Had the older two sisters
done the dishes sans whining,
All four could have been swimming
Right after their dining.

But Father himself
Deserved part of the blame
For making an offer
The girls couldn’t attain.

So through many hot summers
they all sweated and steamed
With the cooling pool waters
Just mirages they dreamed.

Over time, though, they learned
How support can be good,
And began treating one another
As four sisters should.

They’re reconciled now
Though it’s forty years later.
Their new, gentler ways came
Too late for their pater.

But I’m sure, looking down,
He is happy to see
His girls grown together
And nice as could be.

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Poem Submitted: Sunday, July 29, 2007

Poem Edited: Friday, March 25, 2011

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