Tina Parker

Rethinking the love poem

Date of Post: 
Monday, February 8, 2016

I don't think of myself as a writer of love poems. Yet, when I give my work some distance and look back at it, I see many poems are snapshots from a sliver of time when I gave myself completely to a moment. In these times that I am fully present with a family member, I feel an intimacy--a moment of love--that births a poem. Being with small children can lend itself to these moments. There is a chance to experience their sense of wonder, and to feel as though we are stealing time as I do in this poem:

While much of the world goes to work

I take my three-year-old to the park

She chases ducks

How they squawk and run

She laughs when they sink their beaks

Into their backs          

She sits with them

Under a big oak

A breeze lifts off the water

And the sun makes the lake dance


She lets a worm crawl on her shoe

And up her leg

She wraps its body in knots

She wants to take it home

The worm lives here, I say

Let’s find a safe place for it

She hangs it from a pine branch

Bye-bye worm

She grabs my hand

And leads me laughing

To the car


I now see this poem about a day at the park with our three-year-old as a love poem. It is a love in many layers: her love of nature, my love of her sense of awe, and the love that is more gratitude for our moments together.

When I wrote the "Gratitude" page for my full-length collection Mother May I, which this poem is part of, I ended up feeling a strong sense of love for our family of four, a love for the ways they have changed, and will continue to change, me. I wrote my thanks to them, stating "This book was born from love of you."