Happy birthday, Gertie! (c. 1914)

I’m including loving little poem from a father to his youngest daughter entering her teens because the dad was Richmond pioneer Thomas Kidd, who is important for Garden City conservation because of the example he set and the legacy he left. The core article in this series is “An open letter to Thomas Kidd (1846–1930).”

Thomas Kidd of Richmond, BC, 1846-1930To Gertie on your 13th birthday

Greetings my girl, this morn that marks for thee
Entrance upon thy teens, those precious years
Replete with all bright visions hope can see
Through youthful eyes without a thought of tears.
I trust they’ll be so spent their memory will be
Endowed with all the bliss that now to hope appears.

Note: The poem is an acrostic, and the first letters of the six lines spell GERTIE, which is evidently what Thomas Kidd called his youngest daughter Gertrude.

A further note about the poetry:
The thoughtfulness of the birthday wish is reinforced by the care with the poetic craft, which is flawless. It would be an ideal poem for anyone introducing learners to rhyme (ababab), rhythm (mainly iambic pentameter but with appropriate trochees beginning the initial two lines and with alexandrines, iambic hexameter, as the concluding two lines), and word choice. (Besides the choice for meaning, that includes repetition of sounds and the key word “hope” in effective ways and also appropriate use of monosyllabic words.) Of course, what matters is not just those individual bits of poetic craftsmanship but especially the way they come together,  explicit in the acrostic technique but implicit—and felt—in the harmony of the poem.

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