Sunday, November 15, 2020


 It's day two of the November 5 Day OpenWrite with Dr. Sarah J. Donovan's Ethical ELA! I am really enjoying this immersion in poetry writing - just what the doctor ordered for this time of pandemic. Today's challenge was entitled 'giving.' Dr. Donovan asks us to reflect on our gifts, with these inspiring words: 

After looking at the title for today, you might be thinking Sarah, I have nothing left to give, my friend. And I do not blame you. You have been giving and giving.

So today, I’d like us to take some time to reflect on what exists today because of you. That is right. What exists, what endures, what lives, what thrives because you have given of yourself, your time, your being, your wisdom, your body.

I was immediately reminded of a recent photo of my eldest son playing with his newborn baby and two year old daughter. Here's the poem that emerged:

At the risk of inviting you to play

two tiny violins for my pity party

I have not one memory 

of my parents

getting down on the floor and playing with me

no board games

no bouncing balls

no baby doll tea parties

got nothin’, seriously.

I vowed not to repeat this.

I coupled marriage with friendship.

I sought laughter and joy.

I was determined 

to connect, converse, love more openly, 

to forgive

to admit mistakes

to do over.

You know well

how I stumble,


come up short

in so many ways.

Is trying my gift? 

Your gift to me,

you may not realize,

was the candid photo

of you

holding your newborn

while simultaneously 

whirling your two-year old daughter on that spin toy

with a big hearty smile on your face.

This idea of loving family and

being present  

I gave this to you.

I am so happy that you cherish this, too.

I received several thoughtful comments from the website:

Glenda M. Funk

What I like most about this wonderful poem is the direct address to your own child, now a parent, and the inductive structure leading to these final, brilliant lines:

This idea of loving family and
being present
I gave this to you.
I am so happy that you cherish this, too.

Like you, I had a mom who never played w/ me. We played board games on rare occasions w/ my father before he lost his sight, and I played dominos and checkers w/ him after he went blind, but his real play was devoted to my brother whom he dreamed would be a professional athlete. Like you, I vowed I’d play w/ my kids and create more play opportunities for them, so ai really relate to the insights you offer here.

Emily Cohn

I love how you invite us into the world with a little sarcasm and sincerity, and walk us through each generation’s experience of play and connection. I can feel that hope and love through your poem.

Sharon B. Oh, Maureen, I’ll gladly go to your pity party if you promise to come to mine. I also don’t have happy childhood memories, so your words made me cry. I’m glad you found a happy ending.

Jordy B
This poem gave my goose bumps as I had just finished a conversation about a friends similar experience with her father before sitting down to engage with this. I appreciate your words, especially, “Is trying my gift?” because it is a gift you treasure giving.


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