A thought: it’s harder to express my love
For both my children than it is my wife
In paltry poems, verdant verse, where “dove”
Is almost all that rhymes with “love,” a knife
Of rhyme that stabs the poet with despair
Of ever saying what he really feels
Without clichés like “laying my soul bare” –
So all I’m left with are these spinning wheels.
If poetry translates a poet’s heart
Into a set of songful, rhyming words,
Then why do words for both my kids depart
Like wildebeest escape a drought, in herds?
Yet for my wife I write my endless lines
Expressing all the love I have for her,
My pines, my whines, my every joy that shines
On seeing her at morn or night, refer
To all the reasons I find that I hold
For loving her. What reason could there be
For loving such a boy who never told
Me anything, who’s fighting to be free
From my embrace, whose only words have been
“What’s this?” since he is not yet two? And what,
In all of her four years, brings me again
To love my daughter so it hurts my gut?
Does poetry need reason so to flow?
Have we mistaken poetry’s true source?
Using emotions, does it help us know?
Or is it reason that is its true force?
Where are the poems for the poet’s child?
Emotions’ rule should make for endless verse
For them if verse is feeling which, though wild,
Is tamed by words, on whose rich milk they nurse.
Instead, it’s for our chosen ones we write,
The ones whose love we can give reason for –
Whose arms and hair and breasts always delight,
Whose eyes and lips we cherish and adore.