Daddy Issues: What’s My Grade in Here?

So as promised, here is one of my dad’s [WARNING rabbit-hole alert, or digression, ahead: yeah, some author said you can tell a “better” — read WASP — person ’cause they say dad, not my dad. John le Carré gets weird about how women hold their elbows. Whatever.] poems. I will offer my opinion of it below, and would certainly invite yours — his spirit will purr at the attention. 🙂

What’s My Grade in Here?

I ate the words letter by letter

opened the briefcase and took out the folder of time

selected the topic with care

asked only the anticipated questions

turned in all the assignments

wiped the board and cleaned the erasers

turned out the lights

when there was discussion I listened

when there was no discussion I listened

when I didn’t understand I was never bored

when called upon I answered

– by L.W. Seeley, Jr. (1941-2006)

Me again. So, I’d change one word: the second “turned” in the first stanza could be “switched.” Also, he typed all his poems — or perhaps had them set by a very early word processing program — with the titles in all caps, before that came to mean SHOUTING ON THE INTERNET. So I’ve modified that style. Thus are editors and translators unwilling thieves, perhaps, but we do as we do.

But I can’t ask his opinion of these changes, and won’t make swaps in his words. I would have to travel in time to talk to my father about poetry as anything except one of the little girls at his knee. As I once was that, I must take the comfort I can from that. He gave me the world of poetry – thanks, dad. I owe you.


6 thoughts on “Daddy Issues: What’s My Grade in Here?

  1. j.h. white

    What a legacy for you, dayzha …. I love this and that you’re sharing it here. The repetition of ‘turned’ works for me, though. I caught it as I was reading it the first time. Turned in…turned out…I like the rhythm of it. The picture is incredible … Daddy code

    1. dayzha Post author

      JH, I hope you don’t mind if I follow up — your point has stayed with me. [The mark of a great teacher: thank you!] One problem I have is that I feel I’ve been the keeper of his words for too long, and some of them burn too much for my handling. They need other hands. 🙂 But yes, a closer study is called for. Hoo boy …

    2. dayzha Post author

      Missed the reference to the photo. Most of the photos I use — including that one — I took. That one’s from Afghanistan. I’m pretty sure — we were moving fast. 🙂

  2. dayzha Post author

    Hi, JH! Yes! I always try to see the sense in repetition … you caught something here I didn’t. Bless you. 🙂 And yes again — life seems all reading and decoding, sometimes, does it not? His concept of duty comes through, I think. I have one of his poems, titled “Duty,” that I will post soon. I hope you like it.

  3. j.h. white

    It’s an extraordinary collaboration dayzha. Are you tempted to add your own voice…a dialogue of sorts? Who knows where it would take you… but it does transcend time….a wonder-filled, remarkable legacy


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