What My Father Planted

He was a short man,
but there was a certain way he stood;
his silhouette strong and familiar
like a steeple in times of worry.

It was a determined stance,
glance to sun, hand shading frown,
tongue moisture over dry lips.
He timed breaths by till of hard soil.

If he chanced to catch me watching,
he was quick to harvest a smile.
We’ll be okay when it rains.
God watches over farmers and fools.

He was a short man,
but there was a certain way he stood,
tall and strong like a church steeple
towering toward heaven.

Shirley Alexander


Filed under family, life, love, memories, poetry, spiritual, tribute

18 responses to “Daddy

  1. Thanks for posting, Shirley. You create a strong image.

    • Thank you, Paul. I have company coming this evening. I will be around to read your latest after they leave or tomorrow morning. I’m looking forward to it.

  2. I found my way here from David Agnew’s blog, and immediately liked this poem. It seems to be short and strong like the father described. I’ve read it through several times times now and relish the simplicity and the strong feelings contained in it – plus that significant variation at the end when I thought you were going in for straight repetition and then woke up to the tribute waiting there!

    • Thank you, John! It is always a treat to meet a new writer. The fact that you appreciate David’s poetry also tells me you are a good reader.

      I have to confess, this is one of those quick poems I get when I’m busy doing something mindless, like ironing. *smile* I didn’t think of form or any other poetic tool while I was jotting it down on a used envelope. I only thought of the image of my father that was clear in my mind.

      When I finally got around to copying the poem into my wordworks, and reading it again, I was happy with the way it came out, and made no changes except substituting “harvest” for “find” in the third stanza.

      David’s comment about it being one of my best really took me by surprise. He always says that about my quick poems! This is proof that sometimes the muse knows when to take over and leave me in the dark. 😀

  3. belfastdavid

    This is such a good poem.

    So few words and yet I felt I knew your father and vertainly knew your feelings toward him.

    Like John I was so taken with the subtle variation in the last two lines.

    I have read a lot of your poetry Shirley. This one is way up there among your best.

    With much love

    • David,

      Thank you, Irish. 🙂 You must read what I wrote to John regarding your comment. I think you know which poems come to me out of empty air, and you say that to frustrate me. Just kidding. *smile*

      You already knew how much I loved and respected my father. You know how we sometimes forget things about people after they have been gone a long time–the way they look, speak, walk, stand….? I have not forgotten anything about my father. He has been gone for 32 years. The only thing I can’t remember clearly is how he looked when he was not smiling. I miss him every day.

      Much love to you,

      • belfastdavid

        *Big Smile*

        It would appear Shirley that the poems which speak loudest and with most clarity are those which go straight from our hearts to the page without our heads getting in the way 🙂 (That’s a you and me both!!)

        Long may it continue.
        God forbid that as we learn more about our craft we should lose that spontaneity which is our gift from the muse 🙂

        I look forward to you posting more regularly again.

        Much love


  4. belfastdavid

    And I wish I could spell!!! I don’t think there is such a word as vertainly – but there is a certainly!! DUH!!

  5. I quite enjoyed this, Shirley. To have a strong memory of your father is something to be very proud of. Statute matters not if the heart is in the right place, and from your complimentary words his mist certainly was. Very nice work.

    • Thank you, Jerry. I think we all subconsciously judge potential mates by the characteristics we admired (or in some cases disliked) in our parents–fathers for girls, mothers for boys. It is more than our own lives that are shaped by our parents’ actions; it is how we view and interact with others. It’s good to remember that now that we occupy those larger shoes.

  6. Haha!! David and I and the typos. “most.” “stature”

  7. Hi Shirley,

    This is such a beautiful tribute to your father. You show with such love how time cannot dimish the memory and love for those who live on in our hearts.

    I was really taken with the line “God watches over farmers and fools.”
    It tells me a great deal about the kind of strong man your father was.

    I do agree with David, this is one of your best. 🙂

    Thankyou for sharing such a loving and moving tribute. 🙂

    with much love
    (((BIG HUGS)))

    • Tikarma,

      You would have liked my father, I think. He was not tall in stature, but he had a really lovely soul. I never heard him say anything bad about anyone, and I have never heard anyone say anything but good about him. He had the best sense of humor, and the quickest wit, I have ever encountered in any other person.

      Daddy was smart when it came to dealing with the short-comings of others too. My mother was not an easy person to live with then. (understatement!) Whenever my father reached the point of “unable to take it another minute”, he didn’t show his anger. He simply got in his truck and left for a couple of hours. When he returned, he would always bring my mom something he knew she liked, such as ice cream or a chili burger.

      I hope you are enjoying your autumn days. I noticed you have a new post. I will visit your blog shortly to enjoy what you have shared. I am taking a break when I finish this comment. Dude and I are having our lunch on the back deck today.

      Much love to you,
      (((BIG OLE HUGS BACK AT YOU!!)))

  8. Elaine Randall English

    Nice tribute and nice to be up this time of the year…..Father’s Day is coming.

    • Thank you, Elaine. I didn’t start it as a tribute. It just more or less wrote itself. I do have one already done for Father’s Day. It took longer than this one, but I don’t know if I like it more. Well, maybe a little more. I’ll post it a couple of days before Father’s Day. Have you written anything new lately. I keep hoping to see an update on your notes. Take care. XX

  9. Hi Shirley – I’m another David Agnew fan and found my way here via his blog. I love this poem: I wasn’t raised on a farm, but I spent my summers working on them, and went on to study Agriculture at university, so I have enormous respect for men like your father. He sounds just the kind of guy I’d have liked to work for; this is a fine tribute and a great poem. As John Stevens (another fine poet) says, the structure and language match the man. I’m looking forward to reading more of your work.