Natural English, or: Sidespin

My Papa once explained to me the genius of Poe’s poetry
In making language lyrical that was much inert;
Some tongues like French and Russian flow;
But English breaks upon the teeth
Unless we pull chords deep
Beneath; deep beneath
The surface

Struggling (mired in A,B,C), remembering he who sired me;
Limited to words, my own, chop\py though they be;
These fingers English keyboards know,
Grasp flailingly at fleeting dreams
Although it’s then I truly
See; truly see him
Seeing me

With talk he wouldn’t be impressed; I’d rather offer something else –
Reality itself undressed; bereft, I’ve naught but language left,
Now feeling I have naught to show…

Here’s peddling clever stanzas cheap
While Papa lies there deep
Beneath; deep beneath

The surface

11 thoughts on “Natural English, or: Sidespin”

  1. I feel like I get that. Buddhism is all about language for me, the words used convey the meaning, so they must be perfect, for you to understand how perfect the language is.
    Language is our access, right? To everything we didn’t know.

    1. It’s odd, right? On the one hand, it’s never easy… on the other hand, it seems to make the grieving process itself easier…

      I feel driven to do it, so I just give in to my needs, and that seems to make me feel better…


      1. Writing your grief away is valuable; I’ve done it several times. The ache never goes away, but it does lessen over time. Anniversaries are difficult, though. I don’t know why they should be; they just are.

        1. Yeah – it’s so weird! I was talking to a friend of mine about death anniversaries and how it doesn’t make sense that they’re harder than any other day of the year… but they are. It’s almost like I feel more of an obligation on that day to think about my father…


  2. This brought me to tears Ben and it is so beautifully expressive. I think it is a poets duty almost to write to a certain degree about their grief. What father would not be touched to their very core with this poem that encompasses such love for him. These lines are particularly moving to me:

    “Some tongues like French and Russian flow;
    But English breaks upon the teeth
    Unless we pull chords deep
    Beneath; deep beneath
    The surface”

    Only a wonderful son could write such a beautiful piece of poetry about his love for his father. So beautiful Ben. Sending love. xoxoxo

  3. Crazy you mention Poe’s writing. I looked him up this morning because I read an argument that proposed Poe’s work taught in schools. Your poem just answered why he should be taught in high school 🙂

  4. Thank you for sharing a most enlightening and inspiring post. I recognized that “ben” meant “son of,” but I was not familiar with “kaddish” or some of the other references. I also wanted to thank you for the “like” you posted on my blog. As a fellow poet, I thought you might also appreciate this entry re-posted yesterday on my father’s birthday Here is the link:
    Shalom from “ben Lonnie”

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