Writing from the heart always produces something wonderful. I was reminded of that while reading a lovely story from Ena Her story of becoming an aunt, brought to mind a poem I wrote over six years ago, shortly after our granddaughter was born. Being the magnanimous guy I am, and not having anything at all to do with trying to add to my blog count every way I can, I decided to send her a link to my poem—but I couldn’t find it. For some reason, I had failed to post what I considered a pretty good poem.

I dug it out of an old file and . . . it wasn’t nearly as good as I remembered. The word usage and meter were awful; but, because it had been written from the heart, I thought it could be salvaged. I tidied it up and then began to regret it. I believe it lost something in the translation. The only answer was to post it both ways and hope one of them would portray my feelings from that day.

This also gives a view into the editing process, and the back flips one performs to strive for a consistent meter (like anybody cares). Also, the astute will notice that the last line of both poems is in iambic trimeter instead of iambic tetrameter: a case where I threw out consistency and broke the rules because I liked the line too much to change it.

This is the new, improved(?) version:

by Mike Patrick

Makayla (6 years ago), my granddaughter and the subject of this poem.

I’ve heard that angels have no need
for sleep, because they’re made that way.
They spend their time upon God’s chores,
like guarding children as they play.

Today I saw a dozing babe,
upon its sleeping face a smile.
Its beauty made me look again;
I stopped, and tarried for a while.

An innocence so brightly shone
upon the child’s untroubled face
through dreams, protected from all harm,
and guided by God’s loving grace.

This I gained, as I watched her there,
I found a primal truth so deep.
This is the way angels would look,
if ever they should sleep.

This is the original version:

by Mike Patrick

Angels have no need for sleep.
God made them just that way.
Hustling about as they do their chores,
Like watching children play.

I saw a child as it dozed in a crib,
On its sleeping face a smile.
I had to pause and look again
So I tarried for a while.

Innocence like a light shone forth
From the baby’s untroubled face.
In dreams protected from mankind’s harm
By God’s unfailing grace.

This I gained as I watched it there,
I found this truth so deep.
That’s the way angels would look
If ever they should sleep.

This entry was posted in Children, Iambic, Poetry, Rhyming, Tetrameter and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to AN ANGEL’S SLEEP

  1. Ena says:

    Beautiful poem. Sleeping newborns are the closest things to angels I’ve ever seen 😉 I honestly have no knowledge when it comes to the ‘rules’ of poetry (I stick with stories for the most part), but I think you did a great job with the edit. Thanks for sharing the poem with me (and thanks for linking to my story, as well :))!

  2. Mike, they are both lovely. I prefer the original, it contains your heart within it. Nicely done.


  3. vivinfrance says:

    I do think you’ve improved what was a gorgeous poem to start with. Poems are never finished, only abandoned.

    • vivinfrance says:

      I didn’t understand your reference to hexameter – 6 feet per line. Your last line has only three feet, likea yard!

      • Mike Patrick says:

        Oops, trimeter. I was counting syllables again. I hate it when that happens. Glad to see you made it back home okay. I’m a little off my game. We’ve had company most of the day and now one of our grandchildren is spending the night. He’s a writer, 10 years old, and I’m hoping to get him to coauthor a poem with me. Now, if I can only drag him away from the TV.

  4. Siggi in Maine says:

    If I didn’t know there was another version, the rewrite would be wonderful
    relaying your wonderful vision of an angel sleeping.
    In truth, I prefer your original version…
    it seems to flow from your heart and soul…
    The “angels hustling” is a wonderful phrase
    that I love…
    As I compared the two versions,
    that vision is why I prefer the original.
    I look forward to your posts when I open my emails…
    you speak from your heart to the hearts of others.
    Thank you.

    • Mike Patrick says:

      Thank you, Siggi. My greatest desire is that readers find something in my poetry to relate to their lives. Everyone sees the same beauty and feels the same emotions, but for some it is difficult to express those emotions. I spent 37 years as a cop, hiding my emotions. Now, other than with my wife, poetry is about the only place I can display them.

  5. Tilly Bud says:

    They both have merit. What matters is which one you prefer.

  6. versebender says:

    Mike, You would have to nit-pick to find fault with the original…but the edit is a tad more polished. I agree with Viv….poems are never finished….I edit mine every time I read them…and pretty sure I am not improving them in the process. Anyway…you are very good. Vb

  7. earlybird says:

    I agree with Viv, Tilly and Vb. Poems are rarely ‘finished’, they are both good and what matters is which you prefer. I love the final couplet of both.

  8. Marie Elena says:

    Lovely work, Mike. The heart, sentiment, and sweetness made me smile. Both versions actually work nicely … simply different in style. I’m impressed at your ability to take an already lovely piece and rewrite just as impressively.

    I was drawn here because I saw your comment at Poetic Bloomings. I’d like to invite you to share your voice with us there as well, if you like. You would be a wonderful addition. 🙂

  9. Luke Prater says:

    beautiful last stanza; could stand as a poem on its own

  10. Andy says:

    Hello Mike.
    I never studied the rules & regulations of poetry. I just write what comes from the heart & my imagination.
    Both versions are very good…the newer is more polished…but if I had to choose, I’d pick the first one.
    I agree we can always polish up a few things here & there, but when we go back & edit & edit & edit some more, we take away the impact of the original thought.
    Either way, I love the look on Makayla’s face…

    Thank you for sharing & for your kind comments over at my blog.

  11. Jess says:

    The original does have a bit more heart, but I’m usually of a mind to not worry about meter or even rhyme so much if it feels right. The edit is still lovely

  12. Kim Nelson says:

    This is utterly beautiful. The cadence and flow are so pleasing to the ear. The images and intentions even more so to the heart. Lovely.

  13. I narrowly prefer the first version for its freshness.
    I’m wary of the restriction traditional form can place on the poet – they can feel like over-tight clothes.

  14. both are lovely….each with their own flavour….nicely done xo

  15. Susannah says:

    What a beautiful photo and a lovely poem. 🙂

  16. Mary says:

    Mike, you are so right. Sleeping children, in all of their beauty and innocence, are the closest we can ever see of angels. I feel the same way about my little granddaughter and wish she would remain an ‘angel’ forever.

  17. Mike,
    As a new grandmother two weeks ago, I can understand the impact and the love involved with this wonderful new arrival, into our lives.
    I enjoyed both versions, but felt the original contained the real sentiment from the moment of writing those words.
    Best wishes, Eileen

    • Mike Patrick says:

      Congratulations on becoming a grandmother. It’s a life altering experience. Those babies are so precious, and we have more time and patients now than we did when our children were little. You don’t want to get too close to them though. They are like puppies. They grow on you, and before you know it, they only stop by for meals. Hungry little critters too.

  18. Dee says:

    they are both beautiful – I think that poetry is an eternal search for the words and flow to paint a picture of a feeling – not just any feeling but the feeling we had at the exact moment that we try to capture – an attempt to connect synapse and heart and make that connection bridge to another. An eternal quest and you have made connections here – the proof is in the comments 🙂

  19. Baishali says:

    Both are beautiful … innocent and angelic, straight from the heart …

  20. cute and beautiful poetry.

    What a thrill to land on your amazing poetry land.
    Come sharing your poetry with us today,
    First time participants are welcome sharing 1 to 3 random poems or poems unrelated to our theme.

    Hope to see you linked in.
    Happy Tuesday!

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