A Poem for My Children, by Adrian G R Scott

I am not sure how well
I fathered you; only
you can tell, and I
am scared to ask.

As you grew
we played the hide
and seek of spring,
tucking you to bed
I glimpsed gloom
and glow in your dreams,
and we voyaged the seas
of juvenescence that
are always sailed before
the maps can be made.

At Christmas I was
Santa, you mistook
me for the crimson king,
kissing me with innocent
lips, eyes shining before
the Herod of adulthood
carried off your infancy.

I waged the grown-up war
only to make you casualties.
For that and many other failings
as a father, je suis désolé. 

In recompense and to offset
my faults, I want you to
know how the world has
made itself known to me.

Life will not present itself
to you like low-hanging
fruit in easy orchards.
Sadly others will get
the applause as you stand
in the wings and watch,
but trust me, plaudits
are a masquerade.

Your life is within,
a fine filament
that arises in your
given soul. This is the
place the great tales
speak of; where
the tenderness of your
regrets will beckon
to a desperate crossing
and a dark doorway.

Then you,
like Theseus,
will find that to face a
minotaur you follow
that glimmering strand
to the wounded bird
of your vulnerability
laying between his
subtle hooves.

In that meeting
the monster will
be your teacher,
unveiling in you
the unquenchable
font of life.

Then you will never
have to ask a stranger
to tell you who you are;
you will have stepped
onto your spot-lit mark,
and the soft memory
of my voice will
be your prompt. 

From The Call of the Unwritten, Adrian G R Scott, ISBN 978-1-4461-3806-9.


The Slip, by Wendell Berry

The river takes the land, and leaves nothing.
Where the great slip gave way in the bank
and an acre disappeared, all human plans 
dissolve. An aweful clarification occurs
where a place was. Its memory breaks
from what is known now, and begins to drift.
Where cattle grazed and trees stood, emptiness
widens the air for birdflight, wind, and rain.
As before the beginning, nothing is there.
Human wrong is in the cause, human
ruin in the effect - but no matter;
all will be lost, no matter the reason.
Nothing, having arrived, will stay.
The earth, even, is like a flower, so soon
passeth it away. And yet this nothing
is the seed of all - heaven's clear
eye, where all the worlds appear.
Where the imperfect has departed, the perfect
begins its struggle to return. The good gift
begins again its descent. The maker moves
in the unmade, stirring the water until
it clouds, dark beneath the surface,
stirring and darkening the soul until pain
perceives new possibility. There is nothing
to do but learn and wait, return to work
on what remains. Seeds will sprout in the scar.
Though death is in the healing, it will heal.