You!

by Paul Raworth Bennett

~~~ for my son… Happy 23rd Birthday!  ~~~

My hand glided over your mother’s beautiful, swollen belly
Feeling your kicks and taps
We sang you lullabies and read you stories while
You explored your warm, liquid cocoon
Nine months of excitement, anticipation
Ah, the miracle!
You filled her womb with Life while
You filled our hearts with Love

Snowflakes swirled under frozen streetlights as we
Abandoned our half-eaten Christmas party dinners and
Hurried back home to our parenthood
Tidy handwritten contraction notes
Became illegible scrawls as your
Mother peacefully entered the tunnel of pain, until
Assisted by renegade midwives, we joyfully
Celebrated at 03:36 the messy arrival of
You, a wiggling, bleating, baby lamb

My cranium throbbing, I leaned heavily against
The wall of our drafty, scream-filled apartment hallway, wondering
How I might sleep standing up while rocking you, until finally
Shielded from nocturnal tumbles by a rolled up towel
Warmed by jammies and blissfully unaware
You snoozed away beside your exhausted mother

after-another-sleepless-night-cropped

Safely tucked in a carrier seat
You kicked your happy feet
Your toothless mouth uttering
A bewildering range of new sounds

Safely held by a hand from above
You tossed stones into the surf
Your breathless lips launching
Squeals of delight as you
Hopped across the cobbles

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I was awakened by the
Pitter-patter of little feet
Rushing to launch you onto the mattress on
Cozy Saturday mornings

I was cheered by the
Sound of your happy chatter
Quietly trading stories with your Pokémons while you
Patiently waited for dinner

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You stretched your little body, as if hurling a javelin
While surfing the beach winds of Tofino
You clambered aboard my back, hugging and laughing
While we “did Beetle” on summer lawns

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I cherish your scribbled eulogy to Crouton
The last and matriarch of our dozen guinea pigs
Our gold-medal backyard sprinter
You tossed dandelions and her favourite things
Into a garden hole, after she left us

Your mind expanded into many dimensions as you
Devoured books, conquered chess, and mastered math
Your body grew from boy to man as you
Played baseball, basketball, soccer and karate
Your soul grew creative, expressive, and sensitive as you
Explored the beauty of the violin, piano, and guitar

Now you’re handsome, tall, strong, and lean
Blessed with quick wit, humility, and gratitude
Possessed of a nimble mind and a loving heart
You’ve broken the chains of your ego
And gathered wisdom from beyond the stars

You’ve coloured the lives of
So many around you
You’ve accepted and forgiven me for
The times that I’ve failed you
You’ve inspired me, like a candle
To slay my private demons

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Oh, my globe-trotting hero
Countless pearled oysters will open for you
Innumerable sunrises will inspire you
Infinity ways, forever I will love you
Until I draw my very last breath

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3 thoughts on “You!

  1. I don’t have words worthy to express the beauty of this piece. You are truly a proud father and oh so talented writer to express your love for you son so eloquently. Magnificent!

    Like

  2. This poem feels full hearted to me with a compelling undercurrent of nostalgia. Have you listened to On the Nature of Daylight by Max Richter (https://youtu.be/rVN1B-tUpgs)? It complements this poem well, I think, with its gorgeously layered melody. It makes me think of the sweetsour nature of relationships.

    Like

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