It’s Too Soon To Tell

by Barbara, on her porch in Boothbay Harbor, looking at the majestic windjammers and waiting for fireworks later

I rarely, rarely write poetry, but I recently came across this poem I wrote in a writing class in 2007. The writing prompt was, “Finish the phrase, ‘It’s too soon to tell.'” I wrote it before the thought of grandchildren had even occurred to me. (Or to either of my kids, thank goodness.) Anyway, it tickled me and I decided to share it.

It’s Too Soon To Tell

It’s too soon to tell
Will he have his mother’s fine skin,
His father’s auburn hair,
His Uncle Charlie’s protuberant ears?

It’s too soon to tell
Will he have his grandmother’s gift for music,
His grandfather’s way with words,
Cousin Violet’s wonderful laugh?

Will he run races like his Uncle Pearce?
Build great cities like his Cousin Neville?
Or write software like Rita’s daughter Lil?

It’s too soon to tell
Will he have Aunt Clea’s love of the bottle,
Uncle Henry’s black depressions,
Cousin Mortimer’s passion for unsuitable women,
Or Cousin Jasper’s for unsuitable men?

Will he know great love?
Will he go to war?
Will he know want, or will his pockets always be full?

This much we do know
He smells like heaven
His smile lights up the sky
His cry breaks your heart
And he holds each of us in the palm of his hand

Because we can’t wait to discover
The oh, so many things
It’s just too soon to tell

24 Thoughts

  1. During my first year of college I wrote a lot of poetry for my creative writing class. The teacher told me my poems hurt her head because of my lack of punctuation. “You absolutely must use punctuation.” She gave me the lowest grade of my college years. I am still shy about sharing my poetry with people and look to those who do as brave souls. Your poem is beautiful, Barb. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Love it! I wrote a lot of dreadful poetry as a teenager and in college. Reading good poetry like this makes me glad I turned to fiction writing, LOL!

  3. Clearly you were hoping, Barb!

    The only poem I’ve written in decades was in response to a challenge from my daughter. She pointed out that Sylvia Plath had written a villanelle, that I discussed here on the blog. I decided to try my hand at it, since the structure is interesting. and wrote something about a struggling relationship. No, I won’t quote it here, but it’s kind of the core of a romance novel–who knows, I might write it someday!

    1. My family is not that interesting. Although I did have an Uncle Pearse. Not sure of the spelling because his real name was Hannibal Percival (James).

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