On Children

Thanks to Rebecca Mullen of Altared Spaces for sending me the link to this wonderful video. The song is based on the poem “On Children” by Kahlil Gibran and was written by Sweet Honey in the Rock and performed in this video by Mebuyan.

On Children
Kahlil Gibran

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.

A Sorry Attempt at Poetry in the Year 1993

One of my unofficial duties at my job is writing poems (and I use the word loosely) for people who are retiring. Most of them I’ve never met. Someone will come to me and give me some details about the person and then I’ll sit and rearrange words on a page until I have some light-hearted rhyming lines that I hope will honor the retiree.

I know I am not a poet. However, I recently discovered I didn’t always know that. I was looking through some old files and found a few poems from 1993 that were written by someone who thought she was a real poet (ahem).

In a spirit of fun and self-mockery, I hereby present to you a truly sorry attempt at poetry. I look forward to your evil comments 🙂 (And let me say how much I admire those of you who can write a real poem.)

Gravy Train?

Running late
staccato sprint
to catch the uptown train

as token slides
in turnstile slot
sounds Doppler’s sad refrain

lonely platform
but for a man
bending o’er black case

stuffing change in
blue-jean pockets
wool hat pulled low on face

a few bars more
may bring a bonus
yet he stares at me

guitar in hand
i’m not enough
he doesn’t play for free

suddenly strumming
triads deep, while
fingers pluck notes high

a melted chocolate melody
soft thanks his
harmony line

the metallic clink
of dinner resounds
within his felt-lined case

soup du jour
prime rib au jus
on a table cloth of lace

approaching rumble then
deafening silence
still he sings in key

determination
a few more coins
buy pastry and some tea

homeward bound
yet back i glance
on half a song we’re weaned

the gravy train
brings dreams of supper
then carts away his means