.

Go, Fading Leaf

__Go, fading leaf,
Tell him who thought my heart to spurn
__That life is brief
(But briefer still his love did burn
__I fool enough was to return).

__Tell him who sold
Our shaky venture for the rock
__Of love grown cold:
He ought to’ve taken better stock
__Ere he imposed such thermal shock.

__And as you fall,
Take care to whisper in his ear,
__She was your all,”
Lest he forget he held me dear,
__And let my memory disappear.

__Then decompose;
As earth receives your nutrients,
__To him disclose
The essence of my elements
__In everything he reaps from hence.

.

.

(All Scolding Aside)

You left the burner on again, my son.
Come on, you’re more responsible than that!
Yes, I forgive you. Next time, when you’re done
Be sure to turn it off. Now, wipe that splat
Of batter off the stove… and wall… and floor –
Don’t want the dog to come and eat that stuff.
Haven’t I told you all of this before?
“Cleanup is part of meal prep.” Good enough?
No, not so fast – you see that greasy pan?
At least leave it to soak there in the sink.
Fine. Thank you, son. You’ve done the best you can,
But you’ll do better next time, don’t you think?
__(Though I don’t care much how my kitchen looks
__If truth be told. I’m just so glad he cooks!)

.

.

Anna J. Arredondo grew up in Pennsylvania, where she fell in love with poetry from a young age. After living in Mexico for six years, during which time she met and married her husband, she returned to Pennsylvania for one more decade. An engineer by education, home educator by choice, and poet by preference, she relocated in 2017 and currently resides in Westminster, CO with her husband and three school-age children. Anna has recently had poems published in The Lyric and Time of Singing.


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12 Responses

  1. Paul Freeman

    I especially enjoyed your second poem, Anna. I have a son who’s exactly the same. The sonnet is indeed unique, which is what totally pulled me in.

    As a suggestion, how does ‘Have I not told you all of this before?’ in line 7? It scans a bit better and sounds more like a stern-ish lecture.

    Thank you very much for the read – I’ll now get my son to ponder over it and reflect on the condition he leaves the kitchen in.

    Reply
    • Anna J Arredondo

      Thank you, Paul, for your comment. I’m glad the poem struck a chord with you; I knew I couldn’t be the only one facing such massive messes in my kitchen!

      If your son is anything like mine, rather than reforming his ways he will probably just seize upon the line “I don’t care much how my kitchen looks” and hold onto it…

      I appreciate your suggestion; I suppose it may scan a bit better. But as my intention with this poem was to insert common, everyday speech into the elegant and sophisticated sonnet form, I purposely used a good number of contractions (which I would otherwise try to avoid)…

      Thanks again!

      Reply
  2. Terry L. Norton

    The gentle humor and forbearance of the sonnet are particularly appealing.

    Reply
    • Anna J Arredondo

      Thank you, Terry. I’m afraid there is more forbearance on paper than in the heat of my kitchen! 🙂

      Reply
  3. Cynthia Erlandson

    Anna, these are both marvelous! Since Paul and Terry commented on the second, I’ll tell you some things that I like about the first. The 2-4 metrical form is lovely and musical, and seems to work perfectly for the poem’s theme. I love the leaf imagery that you carry through, until it is falling, and then decomposing in the ground. “Thermal shock” is a great phrase for cold. I do hope your home-schooled students take to poetry, as you have. I home-schooled both of mine (for a few years), but unfortunately they don’t read poetry any more. 🙁

    Reply
  4. Anna J Arredondo

    Thank you, Cynthia!

    I styled the first poem after Edmund Waller’s “Go, Lovely Rose” (https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/45441/song-go-lovely-rose).

    Thank you for the encouragement related to homeschooling. I hope your children at least still read your poetry! I keep feeding mine poetry when I get the chance (and make them listen to some of mine). None of them has yet caught the bug as badly as I have it, but we shall see…

    Thanks again for your feedback!

    Reply
    • Margaret Coats

      Anna, you have very considerable talent for adapting famous poems! Did a reading of your “Turkey Vulture” (after Poe) around Thanksgiving, but not following the dinner because, as you describe so amusingly, everyone falls asleep.

      Here’s encouragement for you and hope for Cynthia on the homeschooling front. I gave my own children a full course on the kinds of poetry in high school, and they became very
      tired of it. But my daughter is now a teacher who makes her own selections of poems for students rather than relying on a textbook, and my son is a visitor at this website, while a former student from another family recently had a poem published here. Gifts and interests mature, sometimes long after the initial nurture.

      Reply
      • Anna J Arredondo

        Thank you for your comment, Margaret. And I am deeply honored by your reading of The Turkey Vulture!

        Thank you also for the encouragement to keep on sharing our love of words and poetry with our children. I hope Cynthia, and Mr. Woodruff as well, will also be heartened by your experience and wise words.

  5. Julian D. Woodruff

    These are both great, Ms. Arredondo, especially your handling of the every-day language you point out in your comment. It matches (and contributes to) the poem’s tone beautifully. “Haven’t” also skews the iambic rhythm in a way that underlines the informality.
    My efforts to write for my grandkids (fiction as well as poetry) has also fallen on deaf ears–to the extent that I write very little for kids anymore. Maybe those efforts will be dusted off eventually by great grandkids.

    Reply
    • Anna J Arredondo

      Thank you, Mr. Woodruff, for your thoughtful comment. I do hope the ears of today’s children stay receptive to good poetry (and good prose). If we can slip it in when they have their guard down, there’s a chance they will dust it off themselves when they get tired of the cloyingly mindless drivel that constantly bombards them. Your grandkids are lucky to have a grandpa who feeds their ears and their minds, whether they realize it or not!

      Reply
  6. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    Anna, I love your delicate and truly beautiful perception of life. “Go, Fading Leaf” is a heart-touching metaphor that I can relate to.

    I love “All Scolding Aside”. I have a son who I taught to cook, with all the perils a son in the kitchen brings with it. I can assure you that when our sons have a place of their own, they keep it far tidier than they did when they were cooking for us. I just wanted to ask you this. Would you have been comfortable with writing the same poem with a daughter in mind? It seems to me that the mere suggestion of a woman being a good cook in this day and age comes with an element of shame.

    Reply
    • Anna J Arredondo

      Susan,

      Thank you so much for your kind comment, and the hope that my chef-son will eventually tidy up his ways.

      Now, that is an interesting question. I’d like to believe that I wouldn’t think twice about it; in this case I wrote it to my son because he was, in fact, the messy chef in question. But I see where you are coming from. Most things that are traditional or (gasp!) old-fashioned are openly disdained in popular culture. When I was growing up, I dreamed of becoming, among other things, a sports commentator or a mad scientist, but my chief desire was to one day marry and become a mom (I can almost hear a collective gasp of feminist horror). I am happy to report that my young daughter, when asked, has expressed that when she grows up she wants to be… a mom. Of course, for practicality’s sake, I recommend she study towards some useful end, etc etc. But I am glad to see that she has not been unduly influenced by the current of the times to cast off her natural proclivities in the name of “liberation” or “equality”, etc etc.

      P.S. she also enjoys learning to cook.

      Reply

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