This poem is the third in a group, one which followed the poem-in-the-mind-of-the-creator, and now this.
The line from At Home with the Homeless was “Can people see the truth as my parents did the day they named me?” It inspired this one. Both references though are to the people I work with. I learn their names and hear the beauty and the tradition that must have been theirs, and their parents on that day. I often wonder about how things were for them then.
I had a great friend, Gary Kerr, who was one of the very best CPS social workers I ever met. In CPS work we often dealt with conflicts between adolescents and their parents which were somewhat intractable. Gary used to re-frame the issues by asking the parents to recall that day, when the child was so small, when they gave them their name. He asked the parents to recall their hopes and dreams from that time; and bring it into the solutions for the conflict. So a bit of this sentiment is influencing this too, now 20 years after I learned this way to help parents.
On the beautiful glorious day my parents named me
They only looked forward and believed my future was bright.
Anticipation exploded into celebration.
Becoming, in each day, someone who would come to be
Less, then more, then less, living happenstance of passing night.
And each change brought in the experience of temptation.
Somehow changed and formed in unexpected trajectory.
For the times I struggled and succeeded and did what was right
If someone noticed, then sometimes cheers and acclamation.
At other times, through life’s din, I ended up on my knees;
Bent, broken, spitting out the dirt and cursing at my plight.
Burdened down hopelessly by stagnation or starvation.
I can’t help recall on the day my parents brought me here
All was well and complete, if they kissed me and held me tight.
Just this simple thing was a magnificent sensation.
Family providing encouragement and hope, not fear;
Made my young life whole, like glimmering in potential light.
All that could be was powerful, full of fascination.
Did they know of the awful forces that brought on the tear?
How daily grind, or setbacks, find the weaknesses so slight
All the hope and joy shaken, each day a trepidation.
Thus arriving here, staggering regretfully my fate did veer
To struggles large or small, that could sap any fragile might,
Given over to delusions brought by deprivation.
Can the lessons learned let me into better future peer?
And truth derived or wisdom burned into my soul each night
Become what my parents named me to be, thus into my salvation?