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Hi, my name is Steven Herrick and this is a poem I wrote after my son was born trying to imagine his first fifteen years of life. It’s from my book Waterbombs. It’s called, To My Son, Joe:
TO MY SON, JOE
for the first five years
you’ll be like your Dad,
you’ll fall over a lot
always be on the bottle
and stay awake all night.
Then your Mother,
who until now you’ve always trusted
will send you off to a place
where men in shorts and long socks
named Mr Duffy will teach you
i comes before e except after c.
Other boys will think of
stupid names to call you
when you get out for a duck
in the Final.
Names like Slow Joe
Your Mother will tell you to ignore them.
Your Dad will tell you to kick them in the guts.
you never listen to him.
you’ll get a cramp
in your stomach
when you sit next to Wendy Spencer.
this always happens around girls,
it will disappear
when you turn seventy-five.
When you leave school
relatives will ask you
what you want to do.
You’ll tell them you want
to be like your Dad.
They’ll say, ‘A poet!’
You’ll say, ‘No, unemployed.’
Around this time, your Dad
will ask you
to pay back the pocket money
for the past fifteen years,
You’ll tell him
to speak to your Mother.
ABOUT STEVEN HERRICK:
Steven Herrick is the author of twenty books for children and young adults. His books have twice won the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards and been shortlisted for the CBCA Book of the Year Awards on six occasions. He regularly visits over one hundred and fifty schools worldwide every year to perform his work.
“I drafted the manuscript to my second book at Varuna in 1993.” Steven Herrick
2012 – Pookie Aleera is not my boyfriend (UQP)
2011 – Black Painted Fingernails (Allen & Unwin)
2010 – Slice (Random House/Woolshed)
2009 – Untangling spaghetti (UQP)
2008 – Rhyming boy (UQP)
2007 – Cold Skin (Allen & Unwin)
2006 – Naked Bunyip Dancing (Allen & Unwin)
2005 – lonesome howl (Allen & Unwin)
2004 – by the river (Allen & Unwin)
2003 – Do-wrong Ron (Allen & Unwin)
2002 – Tom Jones saves the world (UQP)
2001 – love poems and leg-spinners (UQP)
2000 – the simple gift (UQP)
1999 – the spangled drongo (UQP)
1998 – Poetry, to the rescue (UQP)
1998 – a place like this (UQP)
1997 – my life my love my lasagne (UQP)
1996 – love, ghosts and nose hair
1995 – Water Bombs (UQP)
1992 – the place where the planes take off (UQP)
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