May 13, 2010

Where Did He Come From? (BTP # 2)

(photo of volvox algae courtesy of Martin B. Short PhD)

Although I found the words below almost immediately, I gave up trying to use them in a poem after about ten tries. Instead, began to remember who I got them from. It is by no means a great work of poetry...but it's written with love.
aqueous flagella amorphous polynomials
advection velocimetry quadratically
peclet volvox

When contemplating this word spaghetti
I find myself in awed amazement
on some small snip of boy I birthed.
Who’s nose I wiped,
and forced to bathe,
and eat broccoli without Cheez Whiz.
Who hated sports,
was scared to death of aliens,
and the theme from "Unsolved Mysteries".
Who collected leaves and rocks and
shells and bits of interesting nothing,
and shot out all our windows
with his b.b. gun
while pretending to kill aliens.
To think this stubborn, odd, and funny child,
with all his quirks and wild imagination,
could grow into a man that would
use these words quite casually
in daily conversation.

I found these words in one small section of my son's doctoral dissertation, entitled "Fluids, Form and Function: The Role of Fluid Dynamics in the Evolution of Stalactities, Icicles, and Aquatic Microorganisms." His dad and I continue to marvel at how a boy from a very small town, born to very average parents, could end up with the mind he has. (We believe he was abducted by aliens!)


  1. Wow and double wow. I bet you're proud of him. I loved the words; did you look them all up? or are they still a glorious mystery? Your description of your son as a small child rings all sorts of bells with me.

    The picture of the turquoise and orange swirls is gorgeous too.

  2. proof that a poem does not need big words to evoke the mixed filling of amazement, tenderness and nostalgia a mother feels when contemplating her children as they grow up...

  3. Great words, Cynthia, but you could have made life easier on yourself! It could still be fun to try and write a poem just relying on the sounds and similarities when there's no deadline to worry about. Astonishing where minds can take us, eh?

  4. Cynthia,
    What a loving tribute to your son. Our children never do cease to amaze us.

  5. I have made no children, but I live with a doctor (education). Neither of us has any idea what the other is talking about.

    I enjoyed this very much, and I appreciate your comments at Scrambled, Not Fried.

  6. I wouldn't have known what to do with those words either. I like your approach, and the love shines through so that makes a great poem. His success is your reward for suffering through those broken windows :).

  7. What a loving poem about your special son. I hope he reads this poem!

  8. I love how such a true meaning is inspired by words that have no meaning. There is so much love in this poem.

  9. Nicely done! Your pride and joy at loving your son leap from the screen. Writer's block, schmiter's chiseled on through!

  10. I wouldn't have known what to do with those words, either! The poem is a wonderful tribute to your son, and your genes, no matter what you declaim. And I love the alien theme going throughout.

  11. Superb! The words are 'out of this world' and the immense pride says 'well done'. Really enjoyed this.

  12. Wow, it amazing that your picky child ended up speaking all those words, lol. Great poem, and thanks for commenting on mine!

  13. i'm sure it's an amazing experience to have your child's vocabulary grow to this level! and to remember all his simple things -- and your role in them. lovely!

    i have three boys and i can't wait to see what they get into! aside from trouble ...

  14. Very sweet. I did not see it coming and it left such a delightful feeling. I could identify with the 'scared of aliens' and 'shooting aliens' bit with my son.

  15. I enjoyed the words as well as what you had to say about them. When I think of the reality of my sons as little boys, it's almost impossible to connect them to their "real" adult personae as actual lawyers, counselors, etc. It's hard to take them seriously in court, before judges, when I can see them as boys wrestling in the back seat, trying to spit in each other's eye!

  16. This may be my favorite of your pieces. I love the precision of the theme from Unsolved Mysteries. and killing aliens he is afraid of, and mostly the line "To think this stubborn, odd, and funny child" which has such grace.

  17. I love this. Mom to a 4-year-old son now, I often get teary imagining him grown and doing his own thing (both the good and bad sorts of tears).

    Thanks for sharing part of your mother/son relationship with us!

    - Dina