My mother spent a lot of time with me
when I was younger, but my father
also had valuable time with me, teaching me life
lessons and how to be free. I am more
adventurous now because of the time I have spent
with my father – he always pushed me forward.
On Mondays, we walked to school, sometimes backward, sometimes forward.
One day, I wanted to whistle, so he taught me.
“Make your mouth an O, make sure your air isn’t spent,
and breathe out,” said my father.
A quiet high-pitched noise emerged; I blew more and more
until I was capable of whistling my way through life.
The next skill my father taught me in life
was how to ride a bike. I kept moving forward
with him at my side, pedaling again and again and some more.
Fearing I would fall, I screamed, “Help meeeeeeee!”
But I knew he wouldn’t let me hurt myself. He was my father.
When I was 10, my dad bought me a new bike: money well spent
Bubble gum bubbles – snap, blow, pop – 50 cents spent
I was the only one who didn’t know this necessary skill in life,
I bought Wrigley, Bazooka, and Extra with my father
I watched the little pink sphere come forward
from my father’s mouth, and then he helped me.
We sat on the couch blowing bubbles at each other, until I could blow more.
The thing I find most difficult is Math – more
difficult than all the others, and the most time has been spent
with my father doing this. My dad sat with me
at the kitchen table, teaching math, teaching life,
always teaching me to keep moving forward,
even when it’s hard. Thanks, Father.
When I think of the things my father
has taught me: whistling, bubble blowing, biking, math and more,
he taught me to keep struggling forward,
even when I’ve fallen down, failed – when I’m almost spent.
He taught me how to live a thoughtful life —
how to become me.
Next year, I won’t have my father with me when I feel spent.
I will have to be more independent with my life,
aaaaaaBut I know I can keep moving forward; that’s how my father reared me.
I wrote this piece in my senior year of high school for a Creative Writing class. In doing so, I was able to reflect on how many things my father has taught me in life. It was really nice remembering all of these moments – big and small – things that have been so influential to me. The format of this poem is a sestina.
According to the Academy of American Poets, “the sestina follows a strict pattern of the repetition of the initial six end-words of the first stanza through the remaining five six-line stanzas, culminating in a three-line envoi. The lines may be of any length, though in its initial incarnation, the sestina followed a syllabic restriction. The form is as follows, where each numeral indicates the stanza position and the letters represent end-words:
7. (envoi) ECA or ACE”