Culture shock


She can’t abide my music: ‘It’s so sad,”
She groans, “embarrassing, old stuff.”
I start a disc, she stops her ears: “NO, Dad!”
A single bar of some tracks is enough
To send her running from the room. So now
I guess it will be years before we see
Things quite the same way, and I wonder how
And where we’ll differ (not just musically)
These songs sit at the heart of who I am:
I won’t forsake my country, rock or folk.
There’s nothing in the charts now worth a damn:
Those ‘talent contest’ winners – what a joke.
But give it time: I know that she’ll come round
And recognise my tastes as truly sound.


I wanted to end the week on a bit of a lighter note, and my beloved daughter gave me all the material I needed en route to her piano lesson this afternoon.

13 thoughts on “Culture shock

  1. Fantastic poem, Nick! And I have been there! However my eldest, that’s my son who plays guitar, soon developed, after listening to “my stuff”, a leaning towards it all and has stuck with it! But that was in his mid teens, you have some way to go!

    And yes, it certainly won’t just be music!! Good luck and join the gang!!! LOL:)

    Christine xx

    • Thank you Christine – I’m becoming increasingly aware that this is merely the first faltering step on what Ina (charitably, and probably euphemistically) described as a ‘rocky road’. But I’m also realising that I’m not alone: others have been here before and, presumably, survived. Quite looking forward to being part of ‘the gang’, actually! N.xx

  2. This brought a smile to my face Nick. When our two wonderful daughters were teenagers, we were scared out of our minds most of the time. I wrote a sonnet that I’ve never posted about those years:

    Sonnet 20

    “They’re smoking!” I exclaimed. “Out on the streets!”
    As Ethel looked at me, I said, “They are!”
    “Just Sonja,” Ethel said. “No, Mary too!” I screeched.
    “We’ve talked this out,” she said, confused. “They’ll scar
    their lungs for what? To please their peers? Their friends?”
    I cringed. “They’re smart,” I said. “They’re both intelligent.”
    Their mother shook her head. “This is the bitter end
    of what I thought of them. This devilment
    is more than either one of us should take.”
    “They won’t stop just because we’re mad at them,”
    I said. “They’ll sashay round and try to fake
    their reformation, but our shock won’t stem
    what they’ve decided that they’re gonna do.”
    “We’ve failed,” she said. “As parents we’ve miscued.”

    Both Ethel and I have described our experiences with them during those difficult years in other poems too.

    I hope you have a little easier road than we did. But what I want to tell you is this. Two of the people I most admire in this universe is Sonja Bingen and Mary Wood. They are both teachers, passionate about their own kids, marvelous parents, intelligent human beings, and more than we as parents had the right to expect. Music now, who knows what later, as your daughter grows and rebels and becomes who she is going to be, but in the end, she will absorb your spirit if not your music and that will be better than good enough. Your sonnet brought back lots of memories. A lot of your poetry does.

    • Firstly, Tom, this is a fantastic sonnet, and should definitely be in the public domain! I think there’s something every parent can identify with in there…

      Secondly, thank you for sharing your knowledge and insights once again. I know the years ahead are going to be interesting, to put it mildly (all I have to go on is my younger sister’s teenage years, and I’m pretty sure, or at least hoping, that that’s about as bad as it gets!) but I draw strength from your experience, and hers, that things turn out all right in the end! My daughter’s already writing poetry and playing music, so there’s a lot to be hopeful about. N.

      • My granddaughters, so far, although I’m sure I’d shudder at some of the doings I know nothing about, have avoided the drama their mother put us through, so rocky roads are not always required. Our oldest granddaughter, Sophie, graduates from high school this year with sky high grades, a seemingly level head, and a drive that will lead her forward without a hitch if she keeps on her current path. May you have our daughter Mary’s experience!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.