Thursday, 26 January 2017

A Father To His Son

Published by Chukwu Emmanuel on Thursday, 26 January 2017  | No comments

A father sees his son nearing manhood.
What shall he tell that son? "
Life is hard; be steel; be a rock."
And this might stand him for the storms
and serve him for humdrum monotony
and guide him among sudden betrayals
and tighten him for slack moments.
"Life is a soft loam; be gentle; go easy."
And this too might serve him.
Brutes have been gentled where lashes failed.
The growth of a frail flower in a path up
has sometimes shattered and split a rock.
A tough will counts. So does desire.
So does a rich soft wanting.
Without rich wanting nothing arrives.
Tell him too much money has killed men
and left them dead years before burial:
the quest of lucre beyond a few easy needs
has twisted good enough men
sometimes into dry thwarted worms.
Tell him time as a stuff can be wasted.
Tell him to be a fool every so often
and to have no shame over having been a fool
yet learning something out of every folly
hoping to repeat none of the cheap follies
thus arriving at intimate understanding
of a world numbering many fools.

Also Read: Yourself To Blame

Tell him to be alone often and get at himself
and above all tell himself no lies about himself
whatever the white lies and protective fronts
he may use against other people.
Tell him solitude is creative if he is strong
and the final decisions are made in silent rooms.
Tell him to be different from other people
if it comes natural and easy being different.
Let him have lazy days seeking his deeper motives.
Let him seek deep for where he is born natural.
Then he may understand Shakespeare
and the Wright brothers, Pasteur, Pavlov,
Michael Faraday and free imaginations
Bringing changes into a world resenting change.
He will be lonely enough
to have time for the work
he knows as his own.

Author: Carl Sandburg

Also Read: Our Deepest Fear

My Take:
As plain as the above poem seems, each stanza connotes a lot more than its literal message.
This poem is not just an advice from a loving father to his son, it is an express outpouring of a father's lifetime experience and realistic opinion of what life is all about.
How I wish fathers of today would adopt this poem and constantly remind their sons just like the noble father herein did: that life is not a bed of roses, life is a two-faced coin (tough and simple), to improve the world-one must first improve himself, and to improve  significantly -one must do periodic reflection and be in solitude as often as possible.  What are your thoughts about this poem?
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