Son, stand and be a man, responsible
And virtuous and kind. You will not find
A man of worth who’s listless, cold, and cruel,
Who lives a life reptilian, not of mind.
Don’t live an anesthetic life; embrace
The senses, beauty of the world and life
And art; reject the bodiless and soulless,
The hatred of the world in strifeless strife.
A man of action is a man of words;
A man of words will always listen well;
The poetry of thought will see its source
To train you so that you can always tell
The wisest way to walk, traverse the waves,
And fly on falcon wings when you are sure
Your feathers formed, both soft and firm, for both
Are needed if warm winds you will endure.
A man of wisdom is a man of worlds –
The worlds of simplest physics, chemistry –
The complex worlds of life, emergent systems –
All; cultures, art, and true economy.
A healthy man is one of healthy loves
And life; a life of beauty unifies
Diversity, transforms each soul it meets
To light, gives feathered wings so each one flies.
The opposite of manliness is not
The feminine. The feminine is truly
The complement of manliness. The boy,
So irresponsible, unkempt, unruly,
Is the true opposite of manliness.
Embrace the fullness of both sides of life,
The feminine and masculine, and you
Will have the truest virtue, not one rife
With hardness when you really need to show
You flow and bend and, flowing, show your strength,
Nor softness when you must stand firm and show
That you won’t always bend to any length.
Yes, son, to be a man you have to stand
For right and virtue, knowing when to bend
With strength and knowing when to love. Be true
And good, a soul of beauty to the end.