Welcome to Sunday Morning Lyricality, featuring a weekly song or poem by a Minnesota writer. Our current guest editor is Sandy Bot-Miller,a poet and artist.

Parents, during different developmental stages in their children’s lives, often wonder/worry how their children will navigate new life challenges—and with what degree of ease or difficulty. Ozzie Mayers wrote “My Vegan Child,” he explained, “as an attempt to cope with the transitions his younger child was going through from adolescence to young adulthood.” As the poem unfolds, readers are gifted with a tender portrait of both the poet-father and the child to whom this poem addresses. Posing questions without answers, musings full of speculations, Ozzie offers readers a personal window into a process and format for asking questions living inside each of us that might be worth our time exploring.

Sandy Bot-Miller

My Vegan Child
Ozzie Mayers

I wonder, too much, I know, where my vegan child is heading? 
Where will her dog-days take her?
Where will she find her port?  Will she ever cruise her seas with leisure?

These are questions a father silently asks, afraid to utter, not so much for the inevitable
silence, not so much for the fear of the answer, but not wanting to destroy the
sacred mysteries churning within and without.

Her music-filled nights give my vegan child, I suspect, a sea of sounds where she floats
        and wonders about big questions, not really wanting them answered but needing
        them asked. 
She has a “dark and stormy” soul that brews over her sleepless nights; nevertheless, 
       she has a crackling wit that weathers her days.

That comforts me.

If, my vegan child,  I seem lost, it’s because I am.  Yours is new territory for me.  
At times, I see tiny bristles of burnt trees on your fuzzy head.

This frightens me.

At other time, I see instead sproutings of fresh growth, signaling a new season coming.

So which is it?

The answer lies neither in you nor in me, but, I suspect, in a future which will 
         teach both of us how to embrace the terrain and climate of your mind and body, 
         to wait to see the precious treasures hidden beneath a resisting surface ready
         to yield with a cloud burst.  

Writing Prompt based on “My Vegan Child” by Ozzie Mayers

We offer writing prompts based on featured poems for people who want to write something, who need a little help getting started. We don’t imply that you ought to write something. Many people enjoy reading or listening to poems without feeling compelled to write one. You might simply read this prompt as an exploration into what the featured poem is doing, and how its language works. This can deepen your acquaintance with poetry and lead to great pleasure in being a reader of poems.

Want to write your own poem based on something uncontrollable that occupies your time and energy?

Is there something unknown in the immediate future occupying your time and energy? Perhaps, something about yourself or someone close to you, an upcoming transition, or event out of your control? Questions, as Ozzie writes, “you silently ask”? Try formatting your wonderings or concerns in a series of questions rather than trying to explain them with statements. Then write, without censoring, whatever responses flow from these questions. After 10-15 minutes of writing, sit with what you’ve written and see if new questions have arisen (if not, that’s okay) or if there is anything still unsaid that beckons to be penned. Write more, if moved to do so. At some point, decide if there is material here for crafting a poem.


Ozzie Mayers, a Cajun transplant from Southwest Louisiana, is a retired English Professor from the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, MN and St. John’s University, in Collegeville, MN; he lives in St. Cloud, MN and is taking advantage of staying at home to enjoy reading a myriad of genres as well as cooking a variety of dishes from around the world.