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First Lesson

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.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003


Read poems about / on: daughter, believe, sea, remember, fear, light, heart, swimming, star

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Comments about this poem (Public Broadcast by Philip Booth )

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  • Darlington Chukwunyere (8/8/2011 9:09:00 AM)

    when you're let out into the open (a child) when you're face to face with the rocky face of the times, just remember life can only favor you if you flavor it. Cheers... Edifying. A 10

    15 person liked.
    17 person did not like.
  • Linda Cazar (2/12/2010 4:13:00 PM)

    When I first read this poem it was around the time our daughter was graduating from high school. The parents were encouraged to provide a dedication in the graduates year book. I think I discovered the poem in a magazine, I don't remember! However, what I do remember is how moved I was after reading the poem. I knew that this is what I wanted to express to our daughter, it seemed so appropriate. Therefore, thank you, Philip Booth, your timing was perfect for such a perfect occassion.

  • Reshma Ramesh (9/24/2008 4:00:00 AM)

    wow! ! this is too good

  • Shan Demmings (9/17/2007 9:05:00 PM)

    It explains that learning from adult experiences can keep you from making the same mistakes. The island is the symbol in this poem instructing the girl. The island is teaching the child everything she needs to know. It also symbolizes someone teaching someone everything they need to know for adult hood

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