It is eighteen years ago, almost to the day –
A sunny day with leaves just turning,
The touch-lines new-ruled – since I watched you play
Your first game of football, then, like a satellite
Wrenched from its orbit, go drifting away
Behind a scatter of boys. I can see
You walking away from me towards the school
With the pathos of a half-fledged thing set free
Into a wilderness, the gait of one
Who finds no path where the path should be.
That hesitant figure, eddying away
Like a winged seed loosened from its parent stem,
Has something I never quite grasp to convey
About nature’s give-and-take – the small, the scorching
Ordeals which fire one’s irresolute clay.
I have had worse partings, but none that so
Gnaws at my mind still. Perhaps it is roughly
Saying what God alone could perfectly show –
How selfhood begins with a walking away,
And love is proved in the letting go.
Cecil Day-Lewis (1904-1972)
Wikipedia tells us:
‘Cecil Day-Lewis (or Day Lewis) CBE (27 April 1904 – 22 May 1972), often writing as C. Day-Lewis, was an Anglo-Irish poet and Poet Laureate from 1968 until his death in 1972. He also wrote mystery stories under the pseudonym of Nicholas Blake.’
This poem is known to be about the poet's oldest son, Sean, who was born in 1931. It was written in 1956. Eighteen years previously, at the time of the incident the father is remembering, the boy would have been seven.
Ah yes, isn't that just the age when our children begin the long journey away from us into themselves? With mixed feelings we relinquish them to school, into the care of other adults, to experiences outside home and family.
If I was still doing Wild Fridays, I'd have to create a new category for this one: Heart-breakers. For it quite breaks my heart.
My sons are men in their fifties now, so I'm even further from the young Mum who used to watch them playing sport (in their case basketball) than Day-Lewis was from the memory he was writing about. But time makes little difference to memories such as these. They are happy memories, of course – treasured memories – and yet there's a pang. Those days and those youngsters will not come again.
So, dear wordsmiths, I invite you to write about 'walking away'. It need not be a heart-breaker; instead you might tell me about a walking away that is triumphant, joyful, or a case of doing the right thing. Perhaps, like Day-Lewis, you'll be watching someone else walk away, or perhaps it's you doing the walking. A new piece of poetry or prose, please. Prose can be fiction or non-fiction, and please keep it to a maximum of 369 words (excluding title).
Add your contribution to Mister Linky, and we'd love it if you could link back to this post from your blog. Have fun seeing what others come up with! I look forward to reading you all. If you care to leave any comments here about Cecil Day Lewis's poem (or anything else) I'd love to read those too.
Apologies to those (few, we hope) who saw this post ahead of time and then had it disappear on them! The new Blogger became a bit confusing about times, having now decided to start suddenly showing me my own time zone rather than the New York time our group blog is set to. Having finally figured that out, in future I won't panic and try to change it!
Material shared here is presented for study and review. Poems, photos, and other writings and images remain the property of the copyright owners, usually the authors. (Older poems may be out of copyright). The photo of Cecil Day-Lewis is approved for Fair Use.
Mr Linky goes up tomorrow?ReplyDelete
Yes,you just had a bit of a preview!Delete
I share your heart break emotions ... my three sons are also in their fifties.ReplyDelete
Not that we didn't want them to grow ... if only we could at the same time keep those treasured youngsters! But there, I suppose that is exactly what memory enables us to do.Delete
An excellent choice, Rosemary. Beautifully written, I can smell the wistfulness, a "what if--if only" scent. I too have those feelings, happily married but, two things I wonder, where is she now, and when was the last time we saw each other?ReplyDelete
p.s. my two oldest sons, twins, are 64, the youngest is 59. Girls are 62 and 47. All but the youngest son are married, his 'walked away.'
Life is so mixed, full of love and loss and happiness, sweet or sad memories, challenging and/or lovely present times.Delete
Yes,,this is a wonderful prompt. Also love the C DAY Lewis poem. Excellent choice.Enjoyed writing to this. Thank you.ReplyDelete
My pleasure, rall! I'm glad you enjoyed the reading and the writing. I enjoyed reading your writing.Delete
The poem you shared is so beautiful! It definitely pulls at the heartstrings. And I'm not even a parent.ReplyDelete
Yes. I think it's the masterly use of language to convey what he was feeling ... and those telling little details.Delete
A poem of parenting heartstrings. We blink and they are ready to walk their own paths, and build their own nests. I am totally absorbed in this Cecil Day-Lewis write.ReplyDelete
Happy Wednesday wordsmiths
I'm so glad I shared it with you all.Delete
For some reason, my linky posted the right link, but the wrong blog name! I guess as long as the link goes to the right place it's fine? But, it shouldn't say Lisa's Garden Adventure, it should say The Versesmith.ReplyDelete
I didn't even notice! Once I got there, the poem was the thing. (Loved it.)Delete
Ignore my last reply, my son tells me "Someone put in the wrong name," and he obviously meant me.ReplyDelete
Ha ha, I think that's what sons are for.Delete
I have so much pain in my home right now I just went to romance and wrote an American Sentence.ReplyDelete
And wrote it beautifully! May poetry ever be our solace!Delete
The more I walk the more my mind wanders. But I still have a tendency to look back at what I've left behind.ReplyDelete
I think that's part of being human!Delete
Few things hurt more than walking away or letting go of people we love, even of people we no longer love as much or at all--change and endings are hard.ReplyDelete
They are! And they keep on happening throughout our lives. It can be difficult to appreciate that endings are also new beginnings.Delete