Wednesday, August 17, 2005

A Gift for My Daughter

Ok, here goes nothing. When my daughter Katherine was born I wrote her a baby diary detailing every day of Kerry's pregnancy. One of those, "It's not something she'll understand now, but maybe when she gets older she'll appreciate it" gifts.

When Kerry was pregnant with Elizabeth I knew that I'd have to do something similar, but not the same. It hasn't been easy, and I haven't been doing a very good job of trying. Her first birthday is next week and I owe her this special gift.

So, I present a sonnet. I hope it's good.

She looks at me and all my cares of mind
Dissolve like fleeting clouds from sun-warm'd skies.
Halt, Time! Preserve this wonder that I find
When I behold the heavens in her eyes.

But would the echoes of her laughter fade,
A cold eternal silence in their wake?
What dreams left unfulfilled, what bliss delayed,
If I should all of her tomorrows take?

Her future's yet to come, mine lies unfurl'd:
'Tis not for me alone that she exists.
For no imagination in the world
Could e'er conceive of beauty such as this.

So put your hand in mine and walk with me,
And know that all my life, I live for thee.

Updated 8/22: Changed a few words around.

I have no idea if it's any good, but I think the most important thing right now has been to finish it. Being the geek I am I did my best to get the Elizabethan form down. It helps that my daughter's name is Elizabeth, because that makes it all the more geeky :), even if I'm the only one in my family gets the joke.

I'm hoping to print it, frame it, and stick it on a wall until she's about 15 years old or so, in high school, and learns what a sonnet is. Then I can point to it and see what she thinks.

Her birthday is Wednesday so I still have a few ideas to futz over it and tweak a word here and there, this is really just the first complete draft. But, again, I want to commit myself to it so that I finish the fool thing and don't put it on the shelf with all the other great ideas.


Anonymous said...

That is excellent. I think you've captured a wonderful sentiment. At what age do you anticipate your daughter will begin to engage with the idea of poetry?

Duane said...

Oh, tough question. Poetry comes in so many forms. I know that my 3yr old daughter Katherine does not yet get the concept of rhyme. That is, she can sing a song and will tell you if you got the words wrong, but if you say "what rhymes with moon" she'll have no clue what you're talking about.

How long before they understand the form of the Elizabethan sonnet? Good lord, a long time. I hope they're exposed to it in high school as something more than "14 lines of iambic pentameter."

Nicole said...

Hey this sonnet is awesome. I couldn't help but to think while reading it that it would look awesome with a picture of her playing behind it. I think that that would make it a very special gift that she would never want to get rid of.


Duane said...

Thanks, Nicole. Glad you like it. Right now its sitting framed on her wall -- at 16 months she's a little too young to appreciate it :). Maybe I'll work a picture into it sometime over the years.