NaPoWriMo Day 15

Today’s prompt (which you can read here) was to think of a habit you had inherited from one or both of your parents, and to write a poem about them doing it and then you doing it also later in life.

A little while ago I found one of my old school books from when I was about 10, in which there was a short essay for which we’d obviously been asked to write about our house. The room I described in detail was dad’s study, and this poem sort of grew out of that. I had done this as a first draft when I found the school book, and have tweaked it a bit tonight, but it is still needing much more work…


Dad’s study


Granted access to the peace and quiet

if I would sit, hushed, beneath his desk;

I listened to him think in those warm, slow hours,

learned the habit of thought while I read

or drew flowers. Found my need of peace,

was as paramount as his. Knew this even then.


His shelves crammed with books, old and new,

cardboard folders; box-files, marbled;

all sizes, tattered edges; pencilled words,

like magic spells, on the labels. In the corner

some four-drawer filing cabinets, grey and tall,

hard to open, fruitfully filled with years

and years of papers, files, and made of metal

in case of fire; keeping safe those precious ideas.


My own long-lived years have multiplied by sixty

my single bedroom-shelf of books,

my wooden school-style-desk of notebooks,

my art cupboard with projects half-made.

Now I’ve a whole room for the tottering piles

of books and cardboard boxes, drawers

stuffed with stories and poems, journal entries.

The déjà vu of my IKEA shelves that just burst

with paper; the filing cabinet I bought

without noticing I’d chosen grey, metal,

four drawers.

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