Remember When Fear Cramps Your Heart

On this Father’s Day, early before the family awakes, I follow my Sunday ritual of coffee and reading. My week is too loud and decision filled. I welcome Sunday morning as my quiet time to walk outside with a favorite book. This morning I am in search of inspiration and meaning thinking about Father’s Day. My book for today is an old friend, a favorite on Poetry.

As I sip my coffee, which always tastes better on a Sunday morning, I thumb through my book stopping at dog-eared pages of favorite poems. I move on to discover more, a poem that speaks to Father’s Day. What comes first, the question or the answer? At times, a poem points to an answer before one fully knows the question Yet, the question is always there  … loud, but unheard inside.

On this Father’s Day I think of my Father and all his has taught me. The question though inside, the loud and unheard question, is what am I teaching my own children. Each are focused on starting careers and life paths. First steps, decisions and commitments are often hard and indeed, fear can cramp the heart.

With this in mind I discover a new poem today by Philip Booth that speaks to the special relationship a Father can have with daughters and sons. It speaks to trust, belief, and support. Above all this poem speaks to letting go, knowing the sea will hold your child.

This is the love a Father has for his children.

First Lesson, Philip Booth

Lie back daughter, let your head
be tipped back in the cup of my hand.
Gently, and I will hold you. Spread
your arms wide, lie out on the stream
and look high at the gulls. A dead-
man’s float is face down. You will dive
and swim soon enough where this tidewater
ebbs to the sea. Daughter, believe
me, when you tire on the long thrash
to your island, lie up, and survive.
As you float now, where I held you
and let go, remember when fear
cramps your heart what I told you:
lie gently and wide to the light-year
stars, lie back, and the sea will hold you.

Happy Father’s Day to all.


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