Last year, I first read an amazing poem by Philip Booth. A man was teaching his daughter to swim, but he was also teaching her how to approach love without fear. I instantly fell in love with the poem. Then, this week I was inspired to write a responding poem. His is so hopeful and comforting. Mine seems sad and disillusioned, but it's not about giving up. It's about one of those moments when life gives you pause. Here's the original and my response:
First Lesson by Philip Booth
Lie back daughter, let your head
be tipped back in the cup of my hand.
Gently, and I will hold you. Spread
your arms wide, lie out on the stream
and look high at the gulls. A dead-
man's float is face down. You will dive
and swim soon enough where this tidewater
ebbs to the sea. Daughter, believe
me, when you tire on the long thrash
to your island, lie up, and survive.
As you float now, where I held you
and let go, remember when fear
cramps your heart what I told you:
lie gently and wide to the light-year
stars, lie back, and the sea will hold you.
[Note: I had to remove this poem because I found out lit mags won't publish work that's been published on a blog. Oops.]