Saturday, 19 January 2013

'On Children'

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you. 

You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, 

which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday. 

You are the bows from which your children

as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, 

and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as he loves the arrow that flies, 

so He loves also the bow that is stable. 

From 'The Prophet', by Kahlil Gibran

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

What Was Lost

This is a poem I wrote ten years ago, in ten minutes, about a very specific experience which is yet shared by many. Now another loss is happening, which sometimes feels almost overwhelming, so the poem now has an added context. It came back to mind just now, and it feels right to share it.

The water metaphor, and some of the words themselves, derive from Margaret Atwood's 'Cat's Eye', one of my favourite books.

What was lost?
Where is it?
How can I get back to it?
How can I find it?
So I can be whole again?
So I can be me?

The past is a well of water
where memories are seen murkily
falling back
lost forever through the darkness of time.

But love and hurt remain.
The heart’s memory is clear as a fresh window pane.
The beloved’s love is retained, is welling up.
Her name is Michael.

What was lost is here, within me.
Nothing goes away.