My vreugdes en frustrasies

A and I Poetry, Dis Ekke

For our children from the Dysfunctional Parental Unit

Cape Town circa 2000

Parenthood is a thankless job
And only idiots believe that
Raising children brings sweet rewards
Being a parent is too heavy a cross to bear
And please don’t think that
Children appreciate the sacrifice
In fact
Giving up your dreams for this may be a mistake
People will tell you that
Being rich and famous
Is infinitely more satisfying than
Raising a family
For this job, one must be prepared to sign on for life
This is the truth
Parenthood requires a total mindset change


Dearest Children of Ours, before you fly off your collective handle, please note that Mother Dearest is learning to write poetry. Another blog challenge, yes; why do you even have to ask?

Mother is not quite ready to leave her day job yet, but this is her attempt at writing  Reverse Poetry, a poem that can be read forwards (top to bottom) and have one meaning but can also be read backward (bottom to top) and have a different or opposite meaning.

This poem is dedicated to you and you can either reread the poem from the top down and then from the bottom up to find the real meaning thereof or you can exercise your right to be lazy and listen to the audio version below. You will notice that the top-down version has a negative meaning and the bottom-up is positive. (The voice was “borrowed”  from Microsoft Reader.)



This is my first entry for the A and I Poetry Challenge no 3: May. Due to time constraints, I was not able to publish an entry for April and I promised to post two poems this month.

Ineke and Amanda, my apologies, I keep straying from the suggested topics, but I’m having so much fun discovering poetry, poets and poems (although I do tend to make life difficult for myself by trying to master the advanced techniques, haha).

Ineke, the next entry will be in Afrikaans.

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  1. Oooo, jy bevestig net weer my opinie dat jy besonder fluks is! Het dit nou geniet om so heen en weer te lees, dis baie slim!

  2. O, ek het nou uitgebars van die lag vir jou!!!!!! Bertus is besig om die die bad se lek te probeer regmaak, met diè dat ons nou al twee weke konstant plumming probleme in die huis het. Toe ek nou so lag vir die woorde, en net daarna na die audio luister, toe kap hy sy kop teen die bad se rand en sê ñ lelike woord en word kwaad omdat ek sy aandag aflei… en dis jou skuld… eintlik al ons kinders se skuld.. . Punt.😂😂😂🍷

    • Comment by post author


      Whaha Una, jy weet ook net hoe om in die moeilikheid te bly! Jou man gaan jou nog verbied om te blog en wat word dan van ons?

  3. Jammer as dit dalk nie bedoel is om snaaks te wees nie, Hester.

    • Comment by post author


      Haai nee, jy ken my goed genoeg om te weet wanneer ek gekskeer. Ek hou daarvan om my span se siele uit te trek.

      • Ek lag steeds vir die woorde. Gaan dit vir al vyf die kinders forward!😂🤗

  4. I take my hat off to you: WELL DONE!

  5. Jy is so talentvol!

  6. I am not familiar with Reverse Poetry, but this looks to be quite challenging
    and great fun. You did a wonderful job!

  7. I’d honestly never come across reverse poetry before, in fact it confused me before I’d read your explanation and I have to say I much 🙂 prefer the positive. A lovely photo.

    • Comment by post author


      Neither have I Andrew, this was the first time I ever clapped my eyes on reverse poetry which of course meant that I just HAD to try it on 😊

  8. What an amazing job you have done here. Reverse poetry is indeed a challenging concept. I am really impressed by this poem, Hester. I love that it contains surprises when read in both directions, even though they are the same words. It personifies the yin/yang, positive/negatives of parenthood and indeed of life itself. Some days we feel one way and others, the complete opposite. So very clever! I do hope you keep up with the challenge. Are you going to post this poem in Afrikaans this month too?

    • Comment by post author


      Thank you Amanda, your encouragement means a lot to me. I haven’t (yet) considered translating this poem. Afrikaans and English syntaxes are two worlds apart and I am afraid that in a structured poem, the meaning may be lost. I’ll give it some thought.

      • I did wonder just how it might translate. Language is such an interesting thing as it is so rarely a matter of word replacing word, in translations. So many nuances and jargon is lost through translations. I have found that with book translations. Let me know how you go. If you do decide to translate it, you might come up with a completely different or even better poem, although this one is excellent in its own right!

  9. Nou het jy heeltemal met my kop gesmokkel. Hoe op aarde kry jy dit reg om ‘n ding negatief te laat klink, en wanneer jy teruglees is dit positief? Dis baie goed gedoen!!!

    • Comment by post author


      Daar is ‘n spesifieke “resep” wat jy moet volg. Dis ingesluit by ‘n skoolsillabus en ek het toevallig hierop afgekom deur ‘n bietjie op te lees oor poetry vir die uitdaging wat Ineke aanbied. Dis geweldig interessant en natuurlik moes ek dit probeer. Kyk hier

      • Probeer jy my verlei Hester? Ek sal kyk…. en dit sal my seker nog ‘n nag se slaap kos. Kan jy glo dat ek laasnag bly spook het met hierdie feëverhaal. My brein wou nie afskakel nie…. en vandag sit ek soos ‘n zombie.

  10. Nou slaan jy my asem skoon weg. Dis nou n ander manier om te dig. Baie dankie dat jy so hard werk om te dig. Jy is beslis briljant.
    I also thought at first You are giving a negative description of parenthood. Then I read the explanation and was amazed by the result.

  11. Nilanjana Bose

    Brilliant job with the Reverse poetry! Love the positive-negative reversal too, so clever!

    • Comment by post author


      Wow, coming from you that is a wonderful compliment indeed. I just read your post for today and told myself that I should rather not comment, because my knowledge of poetry in general is so meager. Maybe I was afraid you would apply some violent editing to my attempt. Haha, no, I know you would not do that, but I must admit that I am a little out of my depth here, but very eager to learn. Thank you for dropping by.

  12. Ek glo van bo na onder is tong in die kies. Van onder na bo uit die boonste rakke!

  13. Huh. Never had kids, never wanted them. I read top to bottom, and was kind of refreshed by the lack of sentimentality!

    • Comment by post author


      So, you didn’t read backward (bottom-up)? I also never had a great urge to be a mother, but I did have three children and these days (the eldest is turning 40), I find great joy in them. So, if you read the poem backward, you may find a little sentiment after all. 😄