Poem ‘Doing it all’

Doing it all

you are like a meteor
and you’re young.
I am a metaphor for middle-age

I watch you smoke,
I can’t tell you
how it makes me feel

one hand wants to snatch
while the other loves
patting your head

so why do I smirk
at your facebook smile? – oh
this envy takes many forms

though the worst is knowing
you’re doing it all, and that I,
for all my whittling

have nothing to show

poem and image © copyright dfbarker 2012



  1. Jared · March 27, 2012

    My father has tried to explain the same feeling to me before. Perhaps I’ll fully understand one day. Great poem. And that picture is really cool.


  2. dfb · March 27, 2012

    Thank you Jared!


  3. Jared · March 27, 2012

    Pleasure : D Hope you’re having a great week thus far!


  4. Ina · March 27, 2012

    hi David, what a beautiful picture and poem. I think I know some of the feeling in this poem. 2 of my sons smoke and I really wish they wouldn’t but they don’t seem to think it is dangerous.


  5. dfb · March 27, 2012

    Hi Ina – yes, the wisdom… of youth! 🙂 Thank you once again.


  6. sarahdorrance · March 27, 2012

    I ponder this poem even as I write. I wonder ‘is this about him’, ‘is this about a friend, the world’, but then go right back to ‘is this about him’? This particular poem, ‘Doing it all’, though many of your poems make me ‘feel’, a verb and wonder about you. I think many writers, though not myself, not that I consider myself, yet, a writer, hope for this. This question makes me interested in the writer. Your writing makes me Feel, makes me want to write and wonder. I need no particulars to enjoy the mystery of your poetry.


  7. dfb · March 27, 2012

    Thank you! What a lovely, thoughtful comment – I am very grateful, Sarah!


  8. Jamie Dedes · March 27, 2012

    … and it’s not just about smoking. There are other things and what parent wouldn’t relate to this.

    Beautifully written poem and striking illustration. Thank you for this – a combination of smiles and sadness – on this rainy day here.


  9. Your messages always have a life rhythm of their own that peel away our life’s memories…reminding us of what was one day and what might come today, and what we might touch in the future. The art work was really cool!


  10. Angela · March 27, 2012

    Cool picture David! And the poem speaks with such gravitas from a point of gentle, yet tortured, observation and fights with understanding. You have so beautifully captured all this and more in just a few lines. Really, really nice work!


  11. granbee · March 27, 2012

    I LOVE this image–this is how I see in my mind’s eye so many of the GenY folks around me! When we oldster’s see their smokes and their tattoos and their piercings and their new goals and dreams and adventures, a part of us is just plain old jealous, isn’t it?


  12. dfb · March 27, 2012

    Thank you Granbee!


  13. dfb · March 27, 2012

    Angela, you are so very kind, thank you!


  14. dfb · March 27, 2012

    Thank you very much Wendell!


  15. dfb · March 27, 2012

    Thank you for reading and commenting on it Jamie – I am grateful.


  16. New View From Here · March 27, 2012

    Another great write…so impressed with you. This one immediately makes me think of “to an athlete dying young”, a poem I never fully appreciated until I was far removed from the youthful age at which I was forced to study it! Love your work…


  17. dfb · March 27, 2012

    You are so kind, I’m very grateful to you.


  18. magsx2 · March 27, 2012

    A very thought provoking poem, very nicely written.


  19. dfb · March 27, 2012

    Mags, thank you very much.


  20. claudia · March 27, 2012

    ok…this hit home…my son started smoking when he was 16..and yes..i only wanted to snatch the cigs away…i know you’re going in a different direction…but yep..hit me personally..


  21. Soma Mukherjee · March 28, 2012

    Loved the image David
    beautiful poetry 🙂
    see a lot of teenagers and youngsters smoking, drinking and hundreds of other things
    some of it just makes me shake my head in frustation cos certainly our voice of experience isnt reaching or touching their heart today when there is time…
    and then the new portals time and this gen has created and opened for them selves…amazing they have been


  22. dfb · March 28, 2012

    Claudia, thank you once again. You’ve ‘hit me’ so many times! 🙂


  23. dfb · March 28, 2012

    Soma, I thank you so much once again. Yes, no matter how much we advise, most often that advice is ignored.


  24. Christy Birmingham · March 28, 2012

    Wise words with a great photo to match!


  25. dfb · March 28, 2012

    Thank you Christy!


  26. Broken Sparkles · March 29, 2012

    Thought provoking! The way you’ve put the words, the meaning and the dedication can be interpreted in a few ways … But, as always, talented and masterfully written, with expressions that we all have in us, but never thought we could turn into use!


  27. Fiona.q · March 29, 2012

    is this about the issue your boy gives to you? 😉


  28. dfb · March 29, 2012

    Yes, I’m afraid so… thank you!


  29. dfb · March 29, 2012

    Thank you once again!


  30. Emma · March 29, 2012

    Hey David, I love when I poem seems so simple yet it has the power to reveal something within us…perhaps open our eyes to something we weren’t wishing to see. You’ve managed that here, for me, with the duality of feeling expressed by the speaker. I guess it’s just another part of the passing years…confronting the regrets. Fine poem.


  31. dfb · March 29, 2012

    Hi Emma, thank you so much. Yes, as you know, being a parent brings (sometimes) such mixed feelings!


  32. Betty Hayes Albright · April 2, 2012

    David, it’s so good to be catching up on your latest poems (sorry I’ve been so behind). This one is great – I can relate, remembering when my sons were teenagers!


  33. dfb · April 2, 2012

    Betty, I’m grateful if you’ve looked at just one of my poems! Thank you so much!


  34. brokenpenwriter · April 2, 2012

    I can’t help but wonder if you’ve captured God’s thoughts as well as one man’s. Imagine, seeing every human making choices that will injure, and loving all of them as oneself. Imagine not interfering. Your line about one hand wanting to snatch while the other loved patting the head was so powerful. Simply put, it inspired miles of thought for my morning coffee. Lovely piece!


  35. dfb · April 2, 2012

    Once again, thank you so much!


  36. lscotthoughts · April 3, 2012

    Wonderful poem and perfect image, David! Isn’t it amazing how invincible youth are? I suppose we were at their age, too, but as we’re older and look upon them, it’s so clear. So many phrases I tired of hearing my parents say to me in the past, I now have said to my children. And yet, looking back, it would be exhilarating to feel that invincible feeling again and not have a care in the world. Although, I’m contradicting that comment by admitting I’m happy right where I’m at! Sorry for the lengthy reply! 🙂


  37. dfb · April 3, 2012

    Thank you very much Lauren!


  38. thepoetdaniel · April 3, 2012

    Brilliant! The picture is awesome as well.


  39. dfb · April 3, 2012

    Thank you very much for your comment!


  40. bardessdmdenton · April 4, 2012

    A nice reflection on looking on a younger generation…a certain regret…a little envy and resignation.

    But you do have plenty to show for ‘all (your) whittling’!


  41. dfb · April 5, 2012

    Thank you once again! 🙂


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