Thursday, September 5, 2013

On imparting life lessons to my daughter

and what does it mean? - plaintively, leaning with silk-spun hair against my knee
how should I be - tell me -

I can't. you need to find it out, you, yourself, with your ocean eyes that see in the dark

but you must know things. some things. tell me, the things you know -
the ways to walk the world

well, I suppose, my love -
if you want precepts from me, or signposts -

I would just say to you this -

be gentle to all hurt, sad, frightened things
wounded animals, small children, grey women, broken-souled men
try to extend a hand in kindness, pick up a stone from the road
everyone is fighting a hard battle, but only some wounds bleed where you can see.
in holding another in tenderness, you perform the dignity of both of you;
you honour the life we all share, and bring lightness in your wake.

be fierce in your own self; don't look away
don't lower your gaze or step aside
not because you're told to
not because you're expected to
there will always be those voices and those expectations -
you need not comply.
do not comply, daughter;
some stands are worth making
some disobediences reverberate with power.

and, well, my darling, I suppose -
scurry back to Shakespeare, and I'd say
to thine ownself be true
don't live lies, daughter
don't drink of that poisoned cup.
what you are, be,
what you like, like,
what you think, say,
what you believe, own,
who you love, love.
fly the flag of your own heart high
nail it to the mast, and stand beside it, head up -

it's not much, to help you, I know.
it's not much, but it's all I've learned
all I can give you

well, that, and my love,
but I think you already know that part.

- Kathy, 5/9/13

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