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Day 11 of NaPoWriMo + Poet Picks from Just Poets

 See today’s prompt  from http://www.napowrimo.net/which not only features a “blog of the day”, but a blog which features a blog of the day!

Certainly, April  is the month of “the great conversation” in poetry!  We are fortunate to have guests among our fine local poets featured this week  Jules Nyquist, (see Thursday: 8:15 at The Flying Squirrel) was kind enough to share one of her favorite poems for our “member’s pick” for the month of April.

When asked why she chose it, she replied, ” because I know Joyce, I can relate to her Midwest background, and I am a first born daughter.  She is now the Poet Laureate of Minnesota, too!”

The First Child

By Joyce Sutphen

From her book “First Words”  Red Dragonfly Press, 2010

 

 

It is hard to be the first,

the one who opens the door

between generations, who

swings between the mother

and the father, the one who

must learn to sleep through

the night, alone.

 

                  The oldest one,

the eldest, the one who

has her first birthday first

and her second birthday

first, and first rides a bike,

and first goes off to school

and has her picture taken

a hundred times a day.

 

The first one makes mistakes

that show the others what

to avoid. She must go down

into the dark underworld

of parental ignorance and come

up with a key that will

release her and her sisters

from the fortress where

the ogres planned to keep them

all their lives.

 

                  She has to be

the first to tell them no, make

them let go. She has to tell them

she isn’t going to be a virtuoso,

doesn’t want straight A’s, won’t

take accelerated math, has to

find her own way.  First to say

love me for who I am.

 

First to want the car keys, first

to hit a tree, first to stay out

late, first not to come home

at all. She makes them pace

the floor, believing in the aliens

that take the real child and leave

heavy metal in her place.

 

                  But she’s

the first to come back home,

first to remember your birthday

and Mother’s D ay, a bit

extravagant, as first-borns

tend to be.  She begins

to admire the way you arrange

your furniture, pages through

your books, notices the

colors in  your kitchen –

and then one day she invites you

to dinner, and clearly

she has spent the whole day

making sure everything

is absolutely

perfect.

 

 

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