Tuesday, 29 September 2015

TO A BABY DAUGHTER

My little daughter,  you know no language yet -
Forgive me then  while I expatiate
With this new composition  didactic verse
Using a style  I've borrowed from Old French.
It's no new wisdom  which I have to dispense
But you may find  it's helpful none the less.

Your life is an adventure  and you'll explore
Though you may not  wander from pole to pole.
Never, my daughter, repose in what you know
But always be a person  who pries and probes -
Through wind and rain,  like a keen Viking, row
Until you land  on you own Vinland shore.

Plough your own furrow  and always plough it straight;
Do not divert  to someone else's way;
Broadcast good seed  and then, with patience, wait -
Anything good  will grow in months, not days;
When it is ripe  harvest before the rain
And for the future  be generous with you grain.

Allow the time  occasionally to wander
Across the hills  or by the babbling waters;
Perceive the boredom;  the glory and the horror
Within all nature - slow slugs or leaping horses,
Ravenous shrew  or deft fish-killing otters.
Let each one halt you  and give you cause to ponder.

Fish just to meet  your own and other's wants
But not for pleasure - a sport which God abhors.
Both good and evil  will come within your trawl:
Discriminate - don't keep and swallow all.
Although winds blow  and bucking billows toss
Persist until you can  relish what's caught.

To be a poet  would do you little good
And whether I would like it  I am not sure.
There's poetry in life  as you will prove -
In every movement  a subtle rhythm moves,
In every word  a fertile tension broods;
And every object  is image for a mood.

I know that you  will never be a queen
- But you must rule  within yourself at least;
Only by self-control  can you be free.
Be careful not to watch  all that you see;
Be careful not to heed  all that you hear;
Your heart is the most precious  thing that you keep.

Philip had four  daughters who prophesied -
If he was fortunate   can't decide!
So, little one,  prophesy if you like
But you must pray  from your depths to God's height,
Must find the answer  to darkness in God's light,
Must find in Jesus  the purpose of your life.

My little Rosalie, I'll soon have ended:
I'm sure you think  I've been too long already.
To tell the truth  you don't seem interested
In being wrapped  in archetypal vestments.
I guess it's nearly time  that you were bedded,
A so good night  and may God add His blessing.

Written 15 October 1984; so I must remind her off it!
 

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