Be Who You Must Be, Baby!

October 31, 2023

Be Who You Must Be, Baby!


I love today’s dVerse prompt to be inspired by a dead poet and write a poem; the prompt is Poetics – A Bookish Mood.

You can be inspired by any dead poet, any poem.

I’ve been inspired by many a poet, dead or alive, but I love the opportunity today to highlight the GENIUS of Gordon Parks.

Gordons Parks was a photographer, composer, author, poet, and film director, but more importantly for me, he was a prominent figure in my childhood, although I didn’t know his name. Read the story below, if you’re interested, about how Gordon Parks got into my psyche.

Hint: my parents put one of his poems on my wall in my little-girl room. It’s not in the picture below, but it WAS in that room.

So here’s my Gordon Parks-inspired poem. I didn’t write it today, in a slight deviation from the dVerse prompt rules. I wrote it several years ago for a friend who was expecting a first grandchild, as something she might want to embroider for the baby’s wall. It’s the one children’s book I have in me, and I have an illustrator all lined up. 😎 The central theme is that a child possesses a blank canvas upon which they can write themselves.

Hey There, You!

Hey there, Curious!
Fly to the moon, climb a tree - 
Be who YOU must be. 

Hey there, Sensitive!
Love a dog, set spiders free - 
Be who YOU must be. 

Hey there, Artistic!
Paint fences, write trilogies-
Be who YOU must be. 

Hey there, Brilliant One!
Hone your mind, get three degrees -
Be who YOU must be. 

Hey there, Citizen!
Lead on, be the nominee - 
Be who YOU must be. 

Hey there, Discerning!
Seek wisdom, show empathy -
Be who YOU must be. 

Hey there, Explorer!
Find new worlds, sail the seas - 
Be who YOU must be. 

Hey there, Special One!
There’s only ONE you, you see -
Be who YOU must be. 

I hope you are interested in Gordon Parks, but if you don’t have the time or energy to click the previous post link waaay above in this post or here, below is his poem that was on the wall in my childhood room that inspired me in a lifelong way.

Poem: To Alain

There's me! 
Shining in the water-sun!
There's me! 
With all the fishes, weeds and things.
Me moves when I move!
Me laughs when I laugh! And
There's a crooked sky and a 
White bird flying through a turtle's shell!
But tell me 
Where goes day each night? And
Where goes night all day?
How far is the sky up?
How deep is the earth down? And
What puffs up clouds and wets the rain?
Who pulls the river and blows the wind?
I can fly my kite and catch butterflies, 
I can even climb a tree! But tell me
Why can't I outrun my shadow?

Oh my goodness, the dynamic blood-thumping zest for life inherent in that poem is HUGE for me. I still feel that sense of curiosity and wonder, at my mumble-something age. Gordon Parks, you nailed it!

I hope you do go to that other post I created before, here, because Gordon Parks is someone you should know about. And here are some ways to experience the body of work that Gordon Parks gave us in his 93 years (1912 – 2006):

Thank you, dVerse, for listening! Here’s the prompt for today: Poetics – A Bookish Mood. I encourage you to go visit, Dear Readers, and read the other poems.

© 2023, Glover Gardens

6 thoughts on “Be Who You Must Be, Baby!”

  • Your words – full of wondrous affirmation of freedom and individuality – have the same zest and sparkle as Gordon Park’s. What a terrific gift to pass on to a child as his was passed to you, Kim! And thank you for the links … I had never heard of him until now.

    • Thank you so much for your comments! I’m blushing from the “zest and sparkle”. 😍 And I’m so glad you appreciate the gift of Gordon Parks. He was an amazing human with so much to give.

  • I think it was Robert Bly who once said that children are a golden ball of light who lose most of it to become adults. How wonderful to animate that sphere here. Give me a binky and some dancing shoes and I’m pure potential, too.

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