Friday, June 5, 2015

My Sad, Early Encounter with Poetry (or Why I Didn't Get That Bike)

I was in third grade in UPIS, school year 1983-'84. For homework, our English teacher had us rewrite, verbatim, a poem* from our textbook on a sheet of paper, and draw around the handwritten text our visual interpretation of it. The following morning, before going to school, my mother saw me put the finishing touches on my project. And we had the following conversation:
Mother: Did you do this?! (What she really meant was, "Did you write this poem?!")
Me: Yes, Ma! (I meant, "I did all this stuff: the verbatim rewriting of the poem and all the drawings.")
Mother: I'm so proud of you! I'm gonna buy you a bike, etc...!
And so my proud mother went to work, and I went to school with the nagging feeling that we meant things differently and I'm not gonna get that bike.
Evening came, and she asked me again (and as I recall, she was more specific), "Did you really write that?" And I replied (and was likewise more specific), "I did the drawings, Ma." And my mother went, "Oh..."
But that was three decades ago, and everything's fine now between me and my mom (and my writing, which I still sometimes ask her to edit -- in lieu of the bike). tongue emoticon
*Forgot exactly what poem it was, except that it had three stanzas: the first began with "Past...," the second "Present...," and the last with "Future..." And it was part of our Man and Technology module. Anyway...

Note: This article, now with small revisions, I posted originally in a thread of the wonderful (and recently-finished) 2015 How Writers Write Poetry MOOC offered by The University of Iowa. 

(The Quezon City Memorial Circle, where my childhood friends used to bike...without me. Photo by Niko Cruz, from Yssabela Cordero's Magagandang Pasyalan blog.)

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