A Seattle resident, Emily Warn recently taught creative writing at Lynchburg College. She is author of three books of poetry The Leaf Path, The Novice Insomnia and Shadow Architect, and has been recipient of the Pushcart Prize Anthology Outstanding Writer Award as well as the Stegner Fellowship, Stanford University. Warn led 30 poets in a poetry reading in Lafayette Park across from the White House and attempted to deliver a sampling of poems from the Poets Against the War web site to its gates. The guards refused them.
I was crying for you.
You brought me a California poppy
in the scented warmth
under the eucalyptus.
You knelt beside me
and let your eyes be my eyes
to the bottom of the earth.
Was that the look we held
that later was no more?
A weight settled in me
as I became the person raised
without you. Come back,
moment in the grass.
Come back momentary father.
Questions for Reflection: “California Poppy”
Warn writes of her poem:“California Poppy” is a poem about searching for the lost father. It’s also about trying to grapple with the absence of a father. “When one grows up without a parent—what I felt was just emptiness, a certain sense of absence that was always present.”
- What feeling does “California Poppy” leave you with after having heard it? What emotion is felt by the poet for her father?
- What importance does the poet place on having a father?
- How do you interpret the line “come back momentary father?” How do you relate to this line?
- What does this poem say about the importance of a relationship of a child to his/her father?