My Father (bedtime story poem)

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My Father

My father knelt beside my bed; his round head
reflecting the bedside lamp with the look
of lighting within.  “And the genie,” he said,
“came out of a big blue jar.”  Not from a book
were the stories he told me at night.
Always of genies who were big-blue-jarred
and did fairly little, only the slight
magic of minor wishes, often ill-starred.
Though the stories were just a warm up to
the bedtime prayer.  “Our Father,” that would start,
then straight out head for “hallowed”, “trespass” too,
unknown words, to me a spell he knew by heart,
invoking, croakingly, a wished-for will
bigger than jars blue genies might fill.

***************************

This is a very old poem, a sonnet, that I am reposting (with some slight re-working) for the wonderful Brian Miller’s prompt “bedtime stories” at dVerse Poets Pub.  I am not at my best so may be slow returning comments, but will get back to people eventually, thanks!   (Yes, I know Pat the Bunny doesn’t really go with it!) 

I have gone back and edited the last line of this poem since first posting. I still don’t feel it’s quite right!  Agh! 

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22 Comments on “My Father (bedtime story poem)”

  1. grapeling Says:

    feel better soon, K. maybe quit hanging around so many lawyers? :). sweet pen, with a twist ~

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Thanks- not such a story and I don’t like the ending yet– changed since you saw – went to visit, but honestly my eyes are too tired right now. Will come by – looked good. k.

  2. brian miller Says:

    smiles…warm thoughts of story time…it was never my dad…always my mom…and prayers and church words were alwasy so stilted and weird to me at that age…it being a wish even a genie could not fill was a cool touch k…


  3. There is something so tender about bedtime stories! Hope you are feeling better!

  4. Mary Says:

    It is wonderful to have the recollections of warm times with a parent before one slept at night. I have my own memories. Sometimes my mom, sometimes my dad. Even now they make me feel warm inside. And before I slept also, there was the evening prayer…..and we blessed everyone we knew. Smiles.

  5. billgncs Says:

    when it was bedtime for my youngest a lifetime ago, I would stop in and we would sing a short song, then I would place my hand on her forehead and give her a blessing.

    One night I must have been distracted, and as I was leaving, she said “Dad” in an exasperated tone then took my hand and placed it on her forehead.

    Thanks – your poem reminded me of a favorite memory.

  6. hedgewitch Says:

    No one ever read to me, but I did sometimes get sung to–those memories do make adult life seem awfully complex and difficult to soothe compared to back then. I hope the soothingness of returning health comes your way soon, k.

  7. seingraham Says:

    I can see where you might look at this poem some more but it does have some lovely things going for it already…and it did remind me of some warm fuzzies from my own childhood (and they are few, so thank you) …nice turns of phrase in any case.

    http://aleapingelephant.blogspot.ca/2014/01/off-ledge.html


  8. Hear-felt. I loved the ending… a wished-for-will bigger than those blue jars. Nice.
    -HA

  9. MarinaSofia Says:

    A lot of feeling in this poem, something we can all relate to (or wish we could). Was wondering if substituting ‘any genies’ for ‘blue genies’ in the final line might work. I do like the thought of all that unfilled space…

  10. claudia Says:

    smiles..it’s not bad to have a warm up story for the good night prayers… i cannot remember that one of my parents ever read a bedtime story to me…

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Claudia, that is sad. My mother taught me to read when I was quite young so they didn’t read to me too much, but they definitely sat with me, and my dad did make up odd stories. k.

  11. alan1704 Says:

    Prayers from the heart change lives. I love how you can sense the wonder as a child that you understand as a adult. Love this.


  12. I LOVE your last line and think it is absolutely perfect! Great write, kiddo.


  13. Wonderful memories.. very sweet.. and do get better 🙂

  14. janehewey Says:

    i enjoyed walking back towards your childhood with you in this one, k. parents often have no idea the impact they have on their children. more accurate would be to say parents don’t know exactly HOW they/we will impact children. I know the prayer inside and out. The words trespass and temptation are huge in implication. of course, I didn’t understand that back then. I love the big blue jar. So easy to identify and child-frienldy. My bedtime story was always the prayer: Now I lay me down to sleep…(which scared the happy right outta me) I hope you feel top-notch soon. I’m sorry I’m behind on reading. Have had family medical issues pressing. Will catch up soon.

  15. ayala Says:

    Sweet, Karin. I hope that you feel better soon. 🙂


  16. This is brilliant, especially the last three lines. Telling a child a bedtime story is the best gift a parent can give. Nothing wrong with that last line.


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