Friday Favorites 3/16/2012

I’m going to own up to something I wish weren’t true.   I don’t get most poetry.  As a writer and a romantic, I think I should like poetry but the truth of the matter is that while I can usually discern awful, I don’t know what’s good.  And what I’m told is good often seems obtuse … or even pointless.  Poets work hard to achieve rhyme, meter and rhythm … incorporate assonance, alliteration, and onomatopoeia … they emphasize lines and stanzas and visual form.   Wikipedia says that The use of ambiguity, symbolism, irony, and other stylistic elements of poetic diction often leaves a poem open to multiple interpretations. Similarly, metaphor, simile, and metonymy create a resonance between otherwise disparate images—a layering of meanings, forming connections previously not perceived.   For the most part, I’m inclined to say, Just come out and say it, man.

As a young romantic, I tried to write poetry.   Looking back, it was pretty awful stuff, sort of like extended romantic limericks.   When I rediscovered writing in my fifties, my poems were prose arranged to look like poetry.   Still, I woke up this morning determined to post a favorite poem for this week’s Friday Favorite.  I found my copy of Poems That Live Forever and began searching the pages and there I found an old friend … Kahlil Gibran’s On Love, from The Prophet.  My friend, Wikipedia tells me that The Prophet is poetic English prose, which figures. But it’s as close as I’ll get to a favorite poem.  On Children is not only beautiful, it’s been helpful when my grown up kids follow paths I’d not have chosen.

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.

You can read all of The Prophet online, here.  Have a nice weekend.

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One Comment on “Friday Favorites 3/16/2012”

  1. territerri Says:

    That is beautiful. You quoted a portion of this on my blog one time.

    It’s one of those things I should read often. I need the reminder that as much as I’m inclined to “steer” my kids, I’m not going to be able to. They are their own people and need to find their own way.

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