Saturday, December 6, 2008

family's place

family’s place

we’re born,
someone takes care of us,
and we come to know parent and sibling,
an island after we come out of the sea,

a grandparent, if we’re lucky,
can catch our eyes
and down that tunnel so much flows
beyond what we can yet know,
and often what we do notice is overwhelming love,
I still feel supported and challenged to be my best
by the soft arms and bright eyes of Grandmother,

what is hard to get my mind around
is Grandmother as a grandchild,
let alone the sureness of the countless such leaps
as far back as humans are,
and then, if I dare, the chancy hoped-for future
as link after link forges anew,

how much do we feel the connection with
cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews?
feel it as real and important that we share blood, share ties?
our sense of self enlarged enough to appreciate
a family reunion, the pictures/charts/stories of genealogy?

I’ve seen the glazed eyes, the backs of those who leave early,
the absence of those who can’t fit us into the time,

I, too, have lived a lack of attention when I only stirred myself late
to then realize the person I seek for connection has died,

fortunately, or unfortunately, genes do their job
and traits are passed down without us putting in a specific order,
fortunately, or unfortunately, parenting does its job
and lessons are taught, and something is often learned,
fortunately, or unfortunately, each of us chooses all the time
and sometimes we can take it all
and honor the best of the possibilities within us
and of the possibilities before us,

each day we live is wealth we’re allowed to spend,
and we do well to honor our debt to the past
and our debt to the future,
as we seek to spend each moment wisely,

I often stand at the grave of someone I’ve loved
and pray that I can honor them with the substance of my life,

in the line of all to whom we can feel so indebted,
from whom we can learn to much,
family has an honored place often right at the front,

may we appreciate the best of who has come before
and give thanks with words, and action,
and the giving our ourselves to strain true
as bridge from past to future,
a bridge that knows the passing moments
as the process we live, worth much in themselves,
and worth so much more
as we look back, forward, and around, all at the same time,
and with enthusiasm.

by Henry Walker
November 28, ‘08

1 comment:

RLaszlo said...

Your website looks lovely, and this poem is great.
-Rebecca Laszlo