Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Familial Devolution of Poetry and Prose

Those in my family take pride in their love of poetry and we all take pride in our ability to be wordsmiths.

But yesterday, I posted a poem titled, “Colors” that I had written back in 1983 and I became a bit alarmed.

I could see that from my dad, to me, and now onto my son, Ryan, our poetic ability has actually devolved.

Let me show you…

Here’s a poem that my dad wrote for his second book, Credo.

The Silent Earth

From this silent earth,
I take a handful of dust…

Whose sacred ashes do I hold?
Whose wind-kissed lips are in this mold?

Does Helen’s beauty slumber here,
Beneath the dust of Sappho’s bier?

Are David’s lyric sonnets pressed,
Against Bathsheba’s fertile breast?

My lovely one, we have the key;
the fields of earth are you and me.

A century hence, this dust will bear,
your bright-eyed laughter in the air.

And someone else will lift the sand,
and toast your beauty in his hand.

Embrace this dust, the wind, the sea,
they hold the heartbeats of eternity.

Jack Mahoney ©1981

Ahhhhh, very nicely done, Dad. Let’s see the poetic genes that you passed on to me, shall we?

When I was at Bowling Green State University the campus newspaper did a story on me because I put up all of the poetry I was writing up on my dorm room door. Here’s a couple of examples:

The Sun

The Sun is hot.
Hot, Hot, Hot.
The Sun is yellow.
Yellow, Yellow, Yellow.
Well, not exactly yellow.

The Final Spring Break

The car went down the mountain road
Down the road it sped.
The car went off the mountain pass
Everyone was dead.

Unreelquited Love

The tuna swam for miles
In search of his one true sole mate
He trudged and plodded all the while
For a chance to boink and procreate

He met her at the sandbar
Her eyes and his did lock
But she swished her tail, and turned around
And said, “Sorry Charlie, I have a haddock.”

Matt-Man ©1983

I recently came across a book of poetry that my son Ryno wrote in school when he was 10 years old. Let’s look at his work.


I went to a kid and said, “Do you rhyme?”
He said, “Not all the time.”

The kid is a kid named, Dude.
He’s pretty crude.

Practicing Kung Fu---
It makes me have to poo.


Indians had a house
They called it a wigwam.
They did not have pom poms.


A frog hung on
To a stick in the harbor
As the sun comes up.

Do ya see what I mean? Our poetic gene pool may be wide but it ain’t deep. Oh dear God, what hath been wrought?

You know the saddest thing about all of this is? Both my dad and my son have had books published, and me?

I appeared in the November 8, 1983 issue of the BG News. Life ain’t fair.



Desert Rat said...

"Snowmantled Hogback"

Crystalline footsteps
in silence nearly complete
echo canyons' lure.


Don't underestimate the power of simplicity. Some truly deep thoughts are blessedly brief.

Cheers, my friend.

Matt-Man said...

Rat: Very nice, and I am into simplicity and brevity. After all, "brevity is the soul of humor." And I believe one can apply that same priciple to many things. Cheers my friend!!

Anonymous said...

"The Sun" is brilliant. The last line is genius, love it!

Perhaps this is just proof that the poetry gene evolves with age. You and your son will just keep becoming more poet-y.

Charlene said...

I agree with Mrs. D. Poetry and wine approves with age.... if of course it doesn't turn to vinegar.

I will never show people what I've written years ago. Today I write things that will never be seen outside my backup drive.

Matt-Man said...

D: Don't make me laugh, my side hurts. Although, that is one of Schmoop's faves. When I recited that one, her legs spread wide least that's how I remember it. Cheers D!!

Charlene: I have a bunch of old poems that were actually "real" poems, and I'll be publishing some on here soon. Don't be afraid to do the same. Cheers Charlene!!

Jay said...

I agree with Mrs D. You guys will just continue to get more poet-y. hahaha I love the word "poet-y."

Seriously though, you have a very talented family. I suck at poetry. I'm the least poet-y person I know. ;-)

Matt-Man said...

Jay: Eh...Writing in any style or form can be considered poetry and you do it well Jay. You make people smile; present company included. Cheers Jay!!

Mike said...

"The Final Spring Break"

Touched my hea.... or my... well it touched something. I'm just not sure what.

Scott Oglesby said...

I don’t know man, I love them all. Sure they’re in completely different styles, but all brilliant in their own unique way.

We have to give D the award for best new word of the year with poet-y.

Matt-Man said...

Mike: As long as something on ya in ya moved, I am a happy man. Cheers Mike!!

Scott: Ya like em' all? You're kidding, right? Cheers Scott!!

Michele said...

I adore your Unreelquited Love. Knowing how many children your parents had I'd say it and your dad's poem, "My lovely one, we have the key; the fields of earth are you and me." had a lot in common if not in style.

Matt-Man said...

Michele: Yeah they are so similar. What? That is a good line though. I don't know if you can do it just through a card catalog number, but the Library of Congress number for his first book, Irish Coffee, is as follows:


Can you read his book by looking that up?

Phfrankie Bondo said...

...yeah, but neither of them have a blog, as you do, wherin your daily prose rings like poetry...

Matt-Man said...

Phfrankie: Ha. I am not even going to throw out a humorous or sarcastic retort. That was nice of you to say P-Man. Thanks and Cheers!!

Dianne said...

ahhh - poet-y men are so hot

Evil Twin's Wife said...

I come from a long line of Engineers (not the train kind) and I'm terrible at Math. My son is great with numbers. It must skip generations.

Matt-Man said...

Dianne: That's 'cause we do everything with an artistic flair. Cheers Di!!

Evil: I feel your pain. Math isn't my best subject by far, unfortunately it didn't skip a generation Ryno is worse than I was. Cheers ETW!!

Marilyn said...

It's really unfair to compare your dad's work to your son's when he was only ten.

Matt-Man said...

Marilyn: Hey Now...If my son thinks he knows it all at 15 he should have been able to compete with the big boys when he was ten. Cheers Marilyn!!

Marilyn said...

I was just looking back at the pictures... you and your son look a lot alike. That picture of you in College looks almost exactly like him.

We all know everything at 15.

Michele said...

No but I bet we have it in our library. I'll check.

Matt-Man said...

Marilyn: We used to look exactly alike. He's starting to show alot of his mom as he gets older. And I am just kidding. I actually liked the frog Haiku. Cheers Marilyn!!

Michele: Well I doubt if ya do. I'll tell you what; If I can find an extra copy of Irish Coffee and Credo, I'll send em' to ya if ya'd like. Cheers Michele!!

Micky-T said...

Bagwine is fine..
but beer is better.

If Schmoop wanted liver..
Golly bums don't let her.

Matt-Man said...

Micky: Blasphemor!! I'll pretend I didn't just read that. Cheers Mick!!

Micky-T said...

WHAT? I make a poem about liver and beer and you have a problem with that?

Matt-Man said...

Micky: You dissed two of my fave things...The poetry however was a thing of beauty. Cheers Mick!!

Phfrankie Bondo said...

...Oh, yeah...Mic the Poet...