The first time I told my father
that I intended to become a poet, come what may,
like John Greenleaf Whittier and many another
it was the morning of the day.
The sun threw a bucket of light
on the grey shale flags, making a white screen
for leaves to finger-signal.
The tree-tops shimmered and sang mightily.
This was the Main Line. He had made it!
All the greeny shrubs in their little plots stood stock still
trying to hear what he might say-
The irises nodded and lent ear.
Would he be angry? Would he sing goddam?
Would he rail? Call me fool- an abomination?
something to despair? Something to obscure?
with crisp conviction
that I should take flying lessons?
'Quem, tu, Melpomene, semel'
Lo. he didn't swear, stamp his foot,
or fill the air with threatening cries.
Rather, he sat still a minute-
being in all respects a thoughtful man
who'd seen his share of accident and misfortune
and who knew the tie between them.
Topic(s) of this poem: love
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.