My Children, As You Leave Home Little By Little - Poem by Lucius Furius
My children, as you leave home little by little-
first grade school, then college,
your own apartment, perhaps marriage-,
I hope you'll think fondly of these walls which housed you,
the slanted yellow-pine ceiling you lived under,
the warmth you felt there-
thinking of them not as a barrier
which kept you from being what you needed to
but as a harbor
from which you sallied forth to meet the ever-widening world,
to which you retreated in too-strong wind.
Yes, there are bad people in the world,
but the random person driving on the expressway has a mother who loves him
and most- by far the most-
want nothing more - like you- than peace and happiness.
Though I've pondered deeply the universe's mysteries,
I fear I lack religion.
And if I've bequeathed unto you this unbelief,
placed on your shoulders this terrible burden,
It is, perhaps, my greatest failing.
(Are the tools I've given you really strong enough to fight infinity? Strong enough to deal with our ultimate aloneness?)
May you be
rich and smart but, above all, kind-
known as someone who treats others fairly.
May you find the sort of love
your mother and I have found.
Have children - lots of them!
Return often! not out of filial duty
but rather curiosity:
'And what might those old codgers be up to now? '
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