Sunday, August 21, 2011

To Our Children Leaving Home

Photograph by David Noah,
Winterville, Georgia
Photograph by David Noah,
Winterville, Georgia

Bob Ambrose 
and Susan Richardson
Athens, Georgia
August 21, 2011
Reflections on a vision given to Susan
of Kelsey going to college; and on memories.

It is always so,
they go forth
bearing our biology
passed on from dawn
of life’s first day.
But so much more
they bear our dreams
on loan since Eve
awoke to wonder,
pondered, suffered,
lost her Abel.
Ever to the left
behind who love
enough to let
them go, may God
grant visions, offer

        Of fair spring skies and foals in fields
        enclosed by fences, sturdy gates
        restraining safe the bounding colt
        and bright-eyed filly. Safe, but kept
        confined too long, they’ll never be
        what God designed, and so to grow
        and tame proud hearts, we lead them out
        to wider fields across the hill where
        far-off fences, unmanned gates give room
        to run consumed by joy, constrained
        till strong. The same our young.

But God steals hearts
and leaves gates open,
gates unguarded
but by love, a love
impressed inside
the growing, love
that’s fit for wider
fields, a love more
fierce than wildest
demon, love beyond
our gentle vision.

        Within our gates are wide green pastures,
        lush enough to feed a soul, sustaining
        life a while, forever. Open gates, though,
        promise more: they hold back magic,
        mysteries, wild valleys, distant shores
        and shadows, room to roam beyond our
        vision, we who love them desperately.

They will go
through gates in time.
They will pass
beyond protection.
They will wander
far lands guarded
but by love.
And they will find
new fields to favor,
pastures they can call
their own.

        So stay a while, forever with us, safe
        in fences, you who go. You leave behind
        you ones more fragile than you’ll ever come
        to know. But go with God and bear great dreams
        beyond the gate if that must be. If that
        is now your destiny, we will await
        your coming home.

Yet all this, naught but
idle thought about the
sacred course of life
from hopes and fears
of aging hearts. We
open wide the inner
gate, remove the reins
and give a pat, then
leaning back we watch
you take short halting
steps. With somewhat
noble toss of mane,
your stately stride
turns into trot
then frisky canter;
prancing forth, you
lightly trample
tender trails through
meadow grass, and by
the time we turn
away, you’ve
across the

        I latch the inner gate, and my heart 
        catches, recalling how it felt to prance. 
        When you come home, let’s plan to dance. 
        I’ll let you lead. Please take my hand.

"Solitary Horse," by David Noah,
Winterville, Georgia

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