Home > Poetry > Letting go of my children

Letting go of my children

“What do you think is most important for a 19 year old, David? What was most important to you at that age?” At 52, that was not so easy and yet the answer easily came, “Freedom–to do what I want to do without getting hassled . . .” Not bad but you are missing something. I missed “spending time with friends” which shows that I am out of touch. All Agree on that!!

Here is a poem I later read by Jeanne Murray Walker, from A Deed to the Light This helps me understand this odd mix of feelings inside as I am about to release another one.

To My Son, Off to College

We stand there in our vestibule, me clutching

my car keys, you, your suitcase

me about to recite the names of apples,


winesap, braeburn, etc., the way poets

recite them, then to chant the names

of poets, too, anything you’ll listen to,


stanzas of lightning from red mouths.

It isn’t loveliness I’m after, I can tell you

it’s any damn thing that keeps your hand


from pushing that door open. Though you’re

long gone already. And I know it’s wrong,

when the heart has stopped, to pretend it hasn’t.


Like a taxidermist. No, we’re mixed up

with time, my Love, and poetry, as usual

fails to stop you. You have to go away,


and you may not be back.

I eat one of the apples in your memory,

like a pioneer who’s down to eating seed corn,


the sweet-sour juices running into a future

without you, while a voice tells me

I don’t own you, you were a gift, and


my barbaric unteachable mother’s heart doesn’t get it

thinks, Okay, fine, so you’re gone now,

you’re that much closer to coming back.

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