Today, the challenge is to write a poem that “talks.” What does that mean? Well, take a look at this poem by Diane Seuss. While it isn’t a monologue, it’s largely based in spoken language, interspersed with the speaker/narrator’s own responses and thoughts. Try to write a poem grounded in language as it is spoken – not necessarily the grand, dramatic speech of a monologue or play, but the messy, fractured, slangy way people speak in real life. You might incorporate overheard speech or a turn of phrase you heard once that stood out to you – the idea here is to get away from formally “poetic” speech and into the way language tends to work out loud
I’ve written an account of three types of conversations that we have in our house almost everyday, at the three times of the day- early morning, afternoon and dinner.
Poem: Our daily conversations
It’s 6 o’clock.
Time to wake up the elder one. I just call out his name and he’s up.
His snacks box, his mid meal, his water bottles…ok, everything done.
Elder one rushes for his bus.
It’s 7’o clock.
Time for younger one to wake up. Now, this is a task.
‘Good morning darling!’
‘Just 5 more minutes mom,’ he murmurs in his sleep.
Its’ five past seven.
‘Get up, get up or we will be late again,’ I kiss him, I hug him and finally have to walk him to his washroom.
It’s 7:10 by now.
His snacks box needs to be ready, water bottle, uniform, pencil box, a glass of milk, a bowl of chocos…all done.
‘Honey, it’s 7:30, hurry up or we will miss the bus!’
He still walks out slowly, wearing his bath robe, playing hide and seek.
‘God, what are you doing? We need to rush in 5 minutes!’
‘Are you coming along for a walk?’ screams my husband from foyer
‘Yes, I want to… just give me five more minutes’
The next five minutes…
Dressing up younger one, ‘Give me your right hand, now the left one; give me your right foot, now the left one. Ok done.’
‘Come here, let me comb your hair’
‘Where are your shoes?’
‘I don’t want milk,’ his tantrums begin
‘Oh shucks! Just two more minutes. Why don’t you pop these chocos into your mouth?’
‘Are you guys coming? It’s 7:35’ another shrilling voice from my husband
‘No, it’s 7:34. We still have a minute. Can you please go and press for the lift? I’ll quickly get into my sneakers.’
We are out of the house, racing to the bus stop, it’s about 8 minutes walk.
The younger one leaves in his bus and we head for our morning walk.
‘Hey, how was your day at school?’ I ask him everyday as I pick him from bus stop
‘Day was ok Momma, but I have two things to share,
One good and one bad, which is the first one you want to hear?’
‘Hmm, I think I would like to know the good one first,’ said I
‘So the bad one has less impact, when we get to that,’
‘Ok. So the good news is that I didn’t get my test score today,’ grinned my boy
‘Oh! So that’s the good one, okay! Then what’s the bad one?’ I questioned
‘You wouldn’t like it, I know Mom,’
‘Don’t worry honey, I wouldn’t say a thing,’
‘Hmm…so you promise me on that?’ asked again the poor thing
‘Now you are testing my patience, you better spill the beans’
‘Ok. Ok…I told you Sports Day is approaching and we had auditions today,’
To which I said, ‘Ok’
‘And I wasn’t selected for any the races,’ he revealed with a sullen face
‘Oh that’s ok honey. Never mind, don’t be upset. You still have another chance for auditions of games next week.’
And to our house, we walked happily.
‘What do you guys want to have for dinner?’ the irksome question I ask everyday, to everyone
So a family of four we are, but we never reach consensus for dinner (or for any meal, as a matter of fact)
‘I would like some noodles today or even ‘dal*’ rice is fine,’ is the usual reply of my husband
‘But noodles every other day, is not good for health and kids don’t like ‘dal’ at night.
‘Can I have some pasta or burger tonight, mom please,’ the younger one pleads with innocence
‘Honey, we can have that over weekend, can we eat something healthy today’
‘Some chicken cuisine or egg sandwich or even a fried rice will do for me,’ yells the elder one from his study
‘I’m sick of planning your meals you three boys. I think I’ll pass the baton to you guys next week. You can have rajma rice or pizzas and burgers everyday, I’ll happily prepare my salads and broccoli.’
‘Ok mom, listen,’ the boys get concerned
‘Hey sweetie, please,’ husband panics
All three are left with no choice except to agree, ‘Ok cook what you please. We will eat happily.’
So that’s the usual scene before every meal and often times I wonder,
‘How simpler life would have been, if there were no taste buds, this variety of food, drives me nuts,’
But at the same time it’s also true, even I don’t relish same food, everyday, in every meal!
P.S. *dal is an Indian name for ‘pulses’
I remember trying to come up with food for dinner that 4 can agree on! Now I have only myself to please…you will miss those days! (K)
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What excellent dialogue. It feels real!
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Oh really? That’s such a wonderful comment. Thank you so much Jane 🙂
I never asked them. They ate what I fixed. Until they were old enough to take a turn at cooking, then they could choose.
I could just see that little slow one dragging along, you trying to hurry him and the impatient father.
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Oh I absolutely loved your words! I haven’t been able to enforce fixed menu yet and the little one gives me a hard time all the time 😀😀 Thank you so much