Tuesday, March 1, 2011

street light

giuseppe pellizza da volpedo il sole che sorge

in the space of a moment
a moment
in which the space
becomes so much more than itself
my son
crying
and unburdening himself of his pain
the deep and enduring pain of self-doubt
of only knowing himself
as he imagines others know him
and in that very same tiny moment
i'm driven by the same great dark wind
that's blowing through his head
back to that same unknowing
the entirely alone time
of being sixteen
with the world rushing all around me
when the parameters of my life were contained
within four small walls
and all i knew to do
was to channel what i knew of the creative force
(the very weak thread of light that i knew then
as the creative force)
into small paintings
and little poems
believing in them as if they were all my family
and all my friends
gathered
with only one purpose in mind

they were all i had

joseph rippl-ronai dawn in an intimate room

and at the end of each day
i was drawn to my window that looked out
over a very carefully contained
and manicured suburban park
and watching the light slowly fade
i wondered
at what point will my life come to life?

now
here's my son
with the very same question
leaving his mouth
and i'm no closer to knowing the answer
than i was then
i just know to let it be
to let life become
when it will
and that's all i can tell him
all that a lifetime has taught me
all that i have
besides holding him tight
are the words
"wait . . it'll find you . . . or perhaps, you'll find it"

gino severini lampione di porta pinciana

27 comments:

Linda Sue said...

Our boy children, barely squeaking into manhood just on the teeter part- the almost topple part- I am so relieved to be past that and have made it successfully- I remember too well that heart ache- that growing pain. Parenting! Oy! Somehow anguish, which seems an eternal moment, rights itself and becomes a wee dot (eventually). A memorable stepping stone wee dot. With your superior guidance and understanding and sensitivity the kid can't go wrong- I am sure of that!

Noelle Renee said...

This was incredibly beautiful, and heart-opening, Steven. Your son has a good father in you, the best that anyone could have because he has your love and attention. I was so deeply moved by your words about paintings and poems when you were young because it resonated with my own life in such a strong way. I am certain our paths were quite different, but that is one corner of the universe we shared. Thank you for your open spirit. I know that your son will be alright as you are.
~Noelle

steven said...

"the topple part"!!! ha!! well linda sue i'm truly grateful for your supportive and calm advice. i'm not a fan of suffering and growing up is so rich with suffering. my kids are braided into the fibres of my self and i feel their everything - it's one of the kazillion pieces of parenting that there's no preparing for. steven

steven said...

noelle thankyou for your kind and supportive words. my teenage into young adult years were mediated - happily - by music, poetry, literature, and art. i either consumed it or created it myself. it's how i knew myself to be a good person . . . i figured if i was doing that then i had a purpose and some value! steven

Bonnie said...

How moving steven. And how beautifully you demonstrate to your son the trust you have in him and in life. It's so hard for us as parents to recognize that they don't always need or want our answers - they need, and will find their own.

Reya Mellicker said...

Incredible. Beautiful. Gorgeous, in fact.

At 16, everything, EVERY THING, seemed so dire. How lucky your son is that you can remember.

ellen abbott said...

guiding them through these years is tough. there's no manual. I remember my own son's passage.

The Weaver of Grass said...

wise word steven to any son from any father.

Dejemonos sorprender said...

Street light.. that is very beautiful )
Greetings..

Jo said...

I'm so familiar with the helpless feelings of parenthood. Sometimes we are graced by the blessing of action to right a wrong, but more often we are called to simply "sit with the suffering."

This is the most difficult part of parenting, but your son is blessed to have you at his side to ride out the storm.

This one brought tears of empathy for you, Steven, and for your son who will certainly be found by that for which he searches.

Vicki said...

Wow, just POWERFUL! Love your writing steven.

Meri said...

In all the searching for life, sometimes we miss our real life, totally overlook the fact that it's the everyday choices, the momentary joys, the way the clouds drift across the sun's face and then meander off again, and the faces and hearts of people we love that have meaning. But the urge for creative people to create meaning and define life is strong, isn't it?

steven said...

meri - there's a thick creative streak in ym boy that i know he's unsure of. what's it mean? what's it need? what's it like to fully and truly honour it? it's so much. steven

steven said...

oh jo - they come hard and strong, thick and fast and sometimes there's an apparent silence but that simply means things are percolating, fermenting, preparing, emerging. it's such a journey. one without a destination so perhaps "process" would be closer as a defining term. thanks for your kind thoughts. steven

steven said...

hey matias! i wondered where you'd been. thanks for dropping in. steven

steven said...

weaver - thankyou. it's not always possible to know the right words and more often than not i send out an armada of words in the hopes that some of them stick or have relevance. steven

steven said...

ellen - yeah i write the book as i go. for his life and my own. steven

steven said...

reya - it's as present as this moment. i can feel it in every detail. the space between that little part of the big moment and my son's is where the real suffering of parenting lies. we hug each other and share our love so often that we have created a good space to find for times like this. i'm really really happy he's in my life and apparently he feels much the same!! how cool is that! steven

steven said...

bonnie - yep . . . "wait time" is what a friend of mine calls it. knowing when to let silence take over from the noise of relationship. steven

steven said...

vicki - thankyou for your generous comments!!! steven

hope said...

It's a dance we all know the steps too...even though the world likes to step on our toes every now and then. :)

Good to know I'm not the only one who still feels that way on certain days.

Terresa said...

This poem moves me like few do, or have, or ever will.

You encompass the unspeakable questions of the heart, wonderings from the cross-roads of life (age 16, how I remember!), and somehow bring us into them as if they are our own (and they have been). A masterpiece, this one.

Dan Gurney said...

Such poignant writing! My offsprung are a bit older, 26 and 23, past the most turbulent teenage years. I remember, though. Staying connected helps so much. And it helps to remember that answers, even great powerful answers, always melt back into questions.

steven said...

hope it's rare that we feel what others aren't also feeling. it's the articulation of those feelings that gets hidden. steven

steven said...

terresa i don't know how to respond to such a surprising response - i'm very grateful for your generous comment. steven

steven said...

dan - i very much admire that final thought - answers always melt back into questions. thank goodness for that. i'm not a fan of closure or endings! steven

Lorenzo — Alchemist's Pillow said...

A moving view of the past and present of a complicated age.