NaPoWriMo ~ catching up (10)


As I try to catch up on these NaPoWriMo prompts, I find myself short of titles. I can get the poem done (usually!), but titles aren’t always as easy. This one was particularly difficult, as I didn’t even know who I wanted to profile. The prompt — to do a portrait of someone — wasn’t hard, but once I revisited Roethke’s I Knew a Woman, I was lost. It’s one of my very favourite poems, by a gifted poet. Here’s the NaPoWriMo prompt:

Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that is a portrait of someone important to you. It doesn’t need to focus so much on what a person looks (or looked) like, as what they are or were.

To make it even more difficult, I decided I wanted to do something for my father. We had a conflicted, complicated relationship. Not close at times (understatement!), but at other times, I adored him. And as I grow into my own complicated elder years, I think of all my father lived.

Here’s the poem:

I knew a man, as strong as tensile wire
A warrior in his bones
Blew a hole in a barn at 14
Joined the army 2 years later
When he laughed (and he laughed often)
The very air around him quivered
Space & time laughed too.
His muddy cowboy boots carried him
Around the world, and the earth
Remarked his passing with delight
And the hissing of small snakes
Which curled around his ankles
Cobras they were, recognising in him
Fellow royalty, born to gun & sword
King of all whom he encountered
A warrior in his bones

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