Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Father's Eyes

In honor of my oldest daughter Erin who graduated from college last weekend after a long, circuitous and often uncertain process. The tee shirts we're wearing in the photos below the poem bear the words, "In Geologic time, Erin is right on schedule."

Father’s Eyes

watched you before you knew what it meant

to exist, to be held,

the first time you collapsed the space between

my eyes and yours,

the world grew large, fitting neatly within

the palm of your hand,

you practiced dancing into that small

circle of light,

avoiding the darker regions where I could

not find you,

your face upturned always, the question ever

present, Father,do you see?

I played along conspicuous and clumsy,

yes sweetie.

You were impossible to ignore.

But my greatest pleasure was you not noticing

as I watched.

Seeing you, in repose, or awake and in your

own skin,

Then comes the hiding, the love of distance,

of veiled lids,

A father’s eyes, useless and prying, chasing

you into shadows,

Secrets sprout like mushrooms, hands fly up

and shield our faces,

It is better not to look, better not to see, better

to dream,

A father’s eyes grow more dim even as the world

around him blooms,

I hold what I see more dearly than ever, more

clearly than I remember,

For I remember only shadowy things flickering

on sheetrock walls,

Red stains on linen sheets, mud streaks upon

smooth cheeks,

Strands of dark hair framing dark beautiful

eyes, unblinking yet fearful,

My eyes speak to me of changes, and I am

tempted to ask you,

Do you see? Do you see? I imagine dancing

before you,

My head cocked coyly to one side, daring you

to ignore me.

A father’s eyes may yet twinkle, as yours did when

when balloons filled the sky,

And floated silently over hilltops, nestling

in open hands,

Held there by a strange child’s eyes full of wonder

and the present question,

Do you see? Do you see?

Kevin Cahill



Blogger Erin said...

No one had a better cheering section than I did:) You guys rule! ♥ Erin

10:15 PM  
Blogger Melissa said...

Congrats to Erin!

Kevin, I'm moved to tears by your poem. Will reread more than once.

11:27 PM  

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