A friend of mine recently posted this poem on her Facebook and I am rather embarrassed to say that I only grasped its essence upon the second read. I’ve read poems while studying literature just, a couple of months back actually, but none of those poems I’ve came across then, impacted me as much as this particular one:
Where they have been, if they have been away,
or what they’ve done at home, if they have not –
you make them write about the holiday.
One writes My Dad did. What? Your Dad did what?
That’s not a sentence. Never mind the bell.
We stay behind until the work is done.
You count their words (you who can count and spell);
all the assignments are complete bar one
and though this boy seems bright, that one is his.
He says he’s finished, doesn’t want to add
anything, hands it in just as it is.
No change. My Dad did. What? What did his Dad?
You find the ‘E’ you gave him as you sort
through reams of what this girl did, what that lad did,
and read the line again, just one ‘e’ short:
This holiday was horrible. My Dad did.
A difference so subtle, yet once you realize it, it speaks so loudly of the tender-age persona.