20 Lines A Day

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A Father’s Advice

“Read poems others wrote,” my father said,
“and let their words come close, wash over you.
You’ll find that they’ll become your daily bread.”

And so I looked at Frost’s and Wordsworth’s spread,
ingredients upon which I could chew.
“Read poems others wrote,” my father said.

Advice he gave me, like a thoroughbred
approaching finish line, helped me know who
would be poetic friends, become my bread.

Then cancer moved in, stayed beside his bed.
He told me still, though daily he withdrew,
“Read poems others wrote.” My father said,

“Immerse yourself in Shakespeare, Sandburg. Sled
through all the masterpieces, see the view.
You’ll find that they’ll become your daily bread.

Through cancer I still give the go-ahead.
Please, honey, write your words each day, pursue
the others’ poems.”
 Breathing hard, he said,
“You’ll find that they’ll become your daily bread.”

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