Friday, April 03, 2009

Poetry Friday - Ode on the Whole Duty of Parents

Before I launch into my poetry post for today, let me remind you of the Poetry Makers series happening here every day in April. In honor of poetry Friday there are TWO poets featured today. They are Avis Harley and Ann Whitford Paul. If you missed the launch of the series, do go back and take a look at the interviews with Kenn Nesbitt and Rebecca Kai Dotlich. Every poet interviewed has something lovely and unique to share.

Alright, on with the regularly scheduled poetry post!
There's nothing like the death of a child's pet to make you feel like a terrible parent. William is still missing Squeaker, but he's slowly coming to grips with the loss. I, however, am still feeling terribly guilty. I keep wondering what I did wrong, or what more I could have done to prevent this sad end. This whole episode has me thinking about parenting, so today I'm sharing a poem on this topic.
Ode on the Whole Duty of Parents
by Frances Cornford

The spirits of children are remote and wise,
They must go free
Like fishes in the sea
Or starlings in the skies,
Whilst you remain
The shore where casually they come again.
But when there falls the stalking shade of fear,
You must be suddenly near,
You, the unstable, must become a tree
In whose unending heights of flowering green
Hangs every fruit that grows, with silver bells;

Read the entire poem.
The round up is being hosted by Amy at Do stop by and take in all the great poetry being shared this week. Before you go, be sure to check out the list poems written for this week's poetry stretch. Happy poetry Friday, all!


  1. I'm sure you're a strong tree and a fantastic Sir Isaac Newton!

  2. I love that line about every fruit, and, later on:

    questions come to birth
    On all the things that you have ever said
    Of suns and snakes and parallelograms and flies,
    And whether these are true,

    Truth-teller, as parent or as writer--what a scary responsibility!

  3. What a beautiful poem. ((hugs)) to you and William.

  4. I love this poem. It's captured perfectly that terrible and wonderful feeling of letting go, but having to be there and rooted when needed.

    I'll be keeping this one near.

    Who says we don't need poetry to survive?

  5. I love this poem! My son started high school this year and I've felt, all year, like I must have missed reading some user's manual! This is beautiful!

  6. I'm bowled over by this poem - thank you for introducing it to me.

    I'm sorry to hear about Squeaker. Our guilt is the opposite, that we simply cannot have a dog at the moment...