Friday, May 31, 2013

Poetry Friday: Sixteen

I locked my classroom this afternoon and headed home.  It's summer.  That means many things, but the first thing it means is my daughter's birthday, in a couple of days.  I wrote this poem for her.


She was born during Finals Week
And as I labored, her dad typed an exam.
The students later said it was the easiest he'd ever given.

This year Finals Week ended just before her birthday
And she checks her grades obsessively online,
Dissatisfied by all the numbers she discovers.
Only a hundred is good enough for her.

There's a photo of her in her dad's arms in the hospital
Hours after she was born.
Next to him a pile of papers sits ready to be graded,
Assessed, evaluated,
But his focus is on her
And he judges her to be perfect.

Listen to me, daughter,
Intense and fragile since the moment I first held you,
No letter or number will ever sum up your worth.

Ruth, from

Today's Poetry Friday roundup is here.


Linda B said...

Exactly! I hope she will listen to your wise words. What a nice memory of your daughter's birth, Ruth.

jama said...

Beautiful, Ruth! Happy BIrthday to your daughter. :)

Tabatha said...

Very sweet! Wonderful memories, Ruth!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful poem.

Jessica Stock said...


Steve Peterson said...

Lovely, Ruth. Those last two lines are so tender. Thank you.

Betsy Hubbard said...

What a neat memory and nice poem that comes full circle in message and spirit.

Violet N. said...

Ruth, this is beautiful! I love how you show your lives full of the stuff of education and its evaluations. It must be part of your daughter's DNA. The best part, of course, is your evaluation of her. Happy Birthday to a blessed daughter!!

Bridget Magee said...

*goosebumps* I have a 16 year old at home who is also "intense and fragile" and who also "checks her grades obsessively online". Your words are profound and beautiful, Ruth! Happy Birthday to your daughter!

Liz Steinglass said...

Beautiful. I love the resonance between the context of her birth and her interest in her grades. If only she could see the photo the way you see it--his focus on her and he judges her to be perfect.

Doraine said...

Beautiful, Ruth. I hope you both enjoy the birthday. There is so much to celebrate in daughters.

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

Oh my. This is simply gorgeous- full of life, full of beauty, full of meaning. I can only hope to give my own daughter words as tender and true when she turns 16.