Much too small for a plow,
__but I dig anyhow
__till there’s sweat on my brow
__from the weeds that I fight.
I know others may yawn
__at that part of my lawn
__that I spend my time on,
__but it brings me delight.
At the end of the day,
__with a smile I betray
__all the fuss I display,
__as I drink in the sight.
Yet my gardens out shined
__by this… maid of mankind,
__as she steps from behind
__in an act that’s polite.
And with pride like a tower
__extending such power
__she holds out a flower…
__sincerely outright!
Still, my feelings rejoice
__at this little girl’s choice
__in her little soft voice,
__“Da-ee is this a’wight?”
“I do love it my dear,”
__I say into her ear.
__“Let me put it right here.”
__But, now here is my plight…
What she plucked was a weed
__but I still must concede
__it’s a beautiful deed
__and I love it despite!


Joseph Quintanilla is a 46-year-old property manager living in the U.S. Territory of Guam.

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6 Responses

  1. Monty

    That’s a nice sentiment, Joe, whether it happened or was imagined; and written in (to me) an unusual form . . and a big ending to boot.

    I couldn’t help noticing how the piece might seem more complete if line 7 could read something like: ‘over which I do fawn’. For line 13, an apostrophe’s required in ‘gardens’; and ‘outshined’ is one word.

  2. Joe Quintanilla

    I’m looking to learn and improve so feel free to critique. I won’t take offence.

  3. Mark Stone

    Joseph, Hello.

    The strengths of the poem are (1) the anapestic meter (since most poems I see are in iambic meter); (2) a good story involving a tender moment with the young daughter, and (3) a very ambitious rhyme scheme. The weakness of the poem is that, because there are so many rhymes to make, there are several word choices that are “rhyme driven,” and are either awkward or don’t make sense. Examples include: “I betray all the fuss I display” “maid of mankind” “she steps from behind” and “extending such power.” But it’s entirely fixable. So here’s what I would do with this poem.

    1. I would change the title. The current title is just the first three words of the poem, and it doesn’t add any value, in my opinion. Maybe the title could be something about how the Dad feels when he receives the gift.

    2. Regarding the second stanza (S2), the others aren’t yawning at the narrator’s (N’s) lawn, but at N’s focus on N’s lawn. Plus it’s not clear why N is paying attention to only part of N’s lawn and not the whole thing. So I would change S2 to read:

    I know others may yawn
    at my love for my lawn,
    which I spend much time on
    ‘cause it brings me delight.

    3. I would adopt Monty’s wise suggestion to change line 13 so it reads:

    Yet my garden’s outshined

    4. I would revise the rhyme-driven phases listed above and all others.

    5. Regarding line 21, it sounds awkward to me to say that “feelings rejoice.” It sounds more natural to say that “people rejoice.”

    6. Regarding lines 22 & 23, it would sound better to me if you reverse the order of “little” and “soft.” These lines would then read:

    at this little girl’s choice
    in her soft little voice

    7. It is always critical that the final line be perfect in terms of rhyme and meter. Ending with “despite” sounds awkward to me. So I would use “night” as your last word in S3 (since you’re already talking about “the end of the day”). And I would take “sight” from S3 and use it as your last word in the final stanza. Here’s one idea:

    What she plucked was a weed.
    That I freely concede.
    What a generous deed!
    What a beautiful sight!

    8. I hope these thoughts are helpful. I’d love to see the revised poem, if you choose to revise it.

    • Joe Quintanilla

      Thanks so much for the counsel! I’ll certainly rework it, more so as “homework” rather than publishing. If I can do so in a timely manner, maybe I just post the revised poem as a comment.

      • Mark Stone

        Joe, Hello. If you tell me the day that you will post your revised poem as a comment (a week from today, for example), I’ll make a note on my calendar to come back here and provide my comments on the revised version.

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