Re-writing a poem

Today in class, my professor presented us with the task or re-writing an already published poem to speak more truly to our experience. Here’s what I came up with.

The already-published poem I based mine off of is “For My Daughter” by David Ignatow.

“For My Daughter”

When I die choose a star
and name it after me
that you may know
I have not abandoned
or forgotten you.
You were such a star to me,
following you through birth
and childhood, my hand
in your hand.

When I die
choose a star and name it
after me so that I may shine
down on you, until you join
me in darkness and silence
together.

I chose this poem because it really touched me. I have a close relationship with my father, and watching him deal with losing his mother this winter gave me a new perspective on parent-child relationships and what happens when a parent dies. I altered the poem because I’m not a parent and can’t pretend to understand the emotions and feelings that come with parenthood and the prospect of dying and leaving children behind. My change is in perspective: what consoling words would I want my father to have if I were to die and be the one to break our relationship in that way? Here’s my re-write of David Ignatow’s “For My Daughter.”

“For My Father”

If I die choose a star
and name it after me
that you may know
I did not slam the door in rebellion,
wanting to leave.
You are the North Star to me,
guiding me through life
good and bad, my hand
in your hand.

If I die
choose a star and name it
after me so that I’ll still shine in
your life, until you join
me on the Other Side
together.

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2 responses to “Re-writing a poem

  1. Dad will be sooo touched!

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