Parenthood, or: Fear

A d’Verse quadrille

I’m wound up and wounded
Not my body yet, just my heart
We’re sitting potential collateral
Damage // seems 
Verse is free
But can’t free me 
From her world, which I’m afraid to leave
For, simply, I 
Want to protect her innocence and heart

The prompt:

What’s in a word?

The above free verse poem is my take on d’Verse’s Quadrille challenge #128.

The quadrille is simply a poem of 44 words (excluding the title), and it can take any form. This week’s challenge was to use the word “wound” in a quadrille.

The word “wound” is a homograph. Homographs are words with the same spelling, but different pronunciations and meanings. To work out which pronunciation and which meaning is appropriate, you must look at the context.

The extra challenge offered for this particular d’Verse prompt was to include the word “wound” twice – as two of the 44 words – using both of its meanings/pronunciations and thus including the homographic pair.

I don’t tend towards free verse poetry, but I think I should try my hand at it more often than I do. This poem reflects some of how I feel right now, as the father of a six-year-old child living in Israel during this especially scary time.

86 thoughts on “Parenthood, or: Fear”

  1. Beautiful, heartbreaking poem. So hard for your family and all those in Israel/Palestine right now. Can’t imagine what it must be like, especially as a parent.

    Happy Shavuot, David. I hope despite all the tension and violence going on around you, that you and your family had a lovely celebration together. I had to think of you today again with a pupil in my high school class being absent to celebrate Shavuot also. The head of our school is Jewish also. I thought it was lovely they gave her time off to celebrate.

    1. Thanks, Anna 🙂

      Here in Israel, Shavuot is only one day (it ended at sunset on Monday), and in the diaspora it is two days (it ends at sunset today – Tuesday). That’s one of the Jewish conveniences of living in Israel – many of the holidays (and their respective restrictions) are shorter here.

      May I ask what you teach at HS?


      1. That’s so interesting, David. Do you know why it’s celebrated over two days in the diaspora? I guess that’s what you grew up with in the States then?

        I am filling in a maternity leave for my old school (where I taught for 6 years), just till the end of the year, teaching International Baccalaureate English Language & Culture. They pleaded with me to help them out and I caved. They’re Dutch kids, who are in their 5th year of the bilingual stream (so are at near-native level).

        I’ve looked at Nelson Mandela’s letters, Persepolis, 1984, V for Vendetta and The Great Gatsby with them. It’s been fun being back. The kids are a joy to teach and I always learn so much myself through the process.

        1. Anna,

          1) Regarding the second day of holidays in the diaspora, click HERE – it’s a holdover from ancient times when the new month would only begin upon witnesses arriving at the holy Temple to declare that they’d seen it. Today this is irrelevant,.. but there’s a lot of ancient tradition which no longer makes sense – this is just the least of it 😉

          2) that sounds like a lot of fun 😀

  2. Beautifully expressed. I’ve been thinking of you on almost a daily basis in regards to the frightening environment you now find yourself. Be safe.

  3. Beautiful David,

    “Verse is free
    But can’t free me”,

    I felt those lines, especially in the context of what’s going on.

    I hope, not just for Israel, or Palestine, but for humanity, there is an answer. I just don’t see the easy route signposted anywhere!

    Stay safe.

    1. I hope, not just for Israel, or Palestine, but for humanity, there is an answer. I just don’t see the easy route signposted anywhere!

      Nor do I, Darius 😦

  4. I feel for you David. I was talking about the situation with Benji, and also explaining that they still test the air-raid sirens here as a hangover from the ’10 Day War.’ So we talked a bit about wars and what causes them and probably your daughter is still too young to have these conversations. I can understand your concern for your daughter. Any parent would feel the same. Keep safe and keep writing!

    1. yeah, she’s still on the young side for this… probably another year or two, and she’ll be more capable of understanding.

      although… she has watched Disney movies (like Mulan) in which there are wars… so it’s already within her realm of comprehension.

      Thanks, Ingrid ❤

      1. It’s very interesting to have these kind of conversations. But right now I’m sure the most important thing is to reassure her about any worries she might be having. I hope things are calm where you are.

        1. Yep, things are calm where we are (thank goodness)… our daughter doesn’t feel anxious or worried – it hasn’t directly affected her life at all.


  5. It is especially difficult during times of extreme uncertainty and danger to maintain the innocence of children. They are very intuitive and even when the details are not discussed they know that danger lurks. I hope peace comes soon… Like many others I will be praying for your safety and well-being.

    1. She knows that her grandmother’s flight from the USA to Israel was delayed due to violence in Israel between Jews and Arabs… even if she doesn’t entirely understand what that means.


  6. Poignant, especially “Verse is free But can’t free me” 💔 I’ve been dealing with some house flooding issues, so not much time for blogging today, but my heart goes out to those dealing with so much more and especially all the innocent children caught up in the middle. Praying there will be a cease fire soon!

  7. My heart goes out to you and your family David. Glad you can express through poetry what you are feeling and how you are feeling. Shalom to you and yours.

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