A poem for all the parents out there...

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Today is my youngest child’s birthday and I am feeling grateful and nostalgic all at the same time. I pull out poetry often when my heart needs words to match its stirring emotions. And this one by David Whyte is for all of us who love our child, knowing that s/he is loved and parented by bigger forces than just ours. To all of those ancestral and future energies, I give gratitude for your walking with myself and my daughter on this path. I hope this poem touches you today as deeply as it does me.

MY DAUGHTER ASLEEP

Carrying a child,
I carry a bundle of sleeping
future appearances.
I carry
my daughter adrift
on my shoulder,
dreaming her slender
dreams
and
I carry her
beneath
the window,
watching
her moon lit
palm
open
and close
like a tiny
folded
map,
each line
a path that leads
where I can't go,
so that I read her palm
not knowing
what I read

and
walk with her
in moon light
on the landing,
not knowing
with whom I walk,
making
invisible prayers
to go on
with her
where I can't
go,
conversing
with so many
unknowns
that must know her
more intimately
than I do.

And so to these
unspoken shadows
and this broad night
I make
a quiet
request
to the
great parental
darkness
to hold her
when I cannot,
to comfort her
when I am gone,
to help her learn
to love
the unknown
for itself,
to take it
gladly
like
a lantern
for the way
before her,
to help her see
where ordinary
light will not help her,
where happiness has fled,
where faith
cannot reach.

My prayer tonight
for the great
and hidden symmetries
of life
to reward this
faith I have
and twin 
her passages
of loneliness
with friendship,
her exiles
with home coming,
her first awkward
steps with
promised onward leaps.

May she find
in all this,
day or night,
the beautiful
centrality
of pure opposites,
may she discover
before she grows
old,
not to choose
so easily
between past
and present,
may she find
in
one or the other
her gifts
acknowledged.

And so
as I helped
to name her
I help to name
these
powers,
I bring
to life
what is needed,
I invoke
the help she'll
want
following
those moonlit lines
into a future
uncradled
by me but
parented
by all
I call.

As she grows
away
from me,
may these life lines
grow with her,
keep her safe,
so
with my open palm
whose lines
have run before her
to make a safer way,
I hold her smooth cheek
and bless her
this night
and beyond it
and for every unknown
night to come.

MY DAUGHTER ASLEEP
© David Whyte
River Flow
New & Selected Poems
Many Rivers Press 

Live well,
Tanmeet

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