Children tattooed, pierced and studded, dreadlocked;
parents panicked, indecisive, deadlocked.
Mother to daughter: live as you must, if you must;
for just a bit longer, keep the door to your bed locked.
Son to father: teach me what you know,
but I won't agree to keep the door to my head locked.
Mother to father: where have you been, and where
have you kept your thoughts and all you might have said locked?
They'd come so far, and then she saw, in him,
the door to their life, their home, their daily bread locked.
One night in a fiery panic dream he ran
and found the door toward which he'd wildly fled locked.
Aging, but at long last ripe and ready,
she found the on-ramp to the road ahead locked.
They learned too late the cost of keeping that cellar
full of truths that could not be gainsaid locked.
The young return. Too many find the way back
to lives in the country for which they fought and bled locked.
Eric, old friend, as you try each door in the mind,
will you wake one day to find the heart instead locked?
Eric Torgersen's Other Poems
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(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
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- WH Auden