Write Stuff: My Father’s Promise

This week’s Write Stuff poem is based on a writing prompt–write from a child’s perspective: My Father’s Promise.

Comments so far:

As usual … you’ve said a lot in just a few words.
This shows absolute trust – I hope the father doesn’t let him down.

This is loaded! I love it.

“He saught tautness, compactness, the hard image that both conveyed and … was the meaning the poet was after,” wrote critic Thomas Lask (Nov. 2, 1972) in his obituary of Ezra Pound (reprinted in Alan Levy’s book Ezra Pound: The voice of Silence). “Every word that was not functional in the line was eliminated.”

That is what I am striving toward–“tautness, compactness, the hard image.”

Crafting the poem My Father’s Promise took more than a week. It was a process of subtracting or distilling toward a dense yet simple five lines or eight words.

My wife and I debated the last word; “wait.” Initially, I used “waited” to fit a two-syllable line, but I changed it after much discussion to “wait.” She helped me turn the line with a voiceless alveolar fricative stop–word ending with a “t.” Using “waited” added voiced alveolar fricative stop which, when read aloud, sounded like I ran over a speed bump. When the last line is read aloud, the “t” in “wait” explodes of the alveolar ridge and ends the poem with gravity and urgency.

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