My Father's Words - Poem by Hal Caufield
Yesterday I finally understood
“Beauty like a tightened bow”
And as read “No Second Troy”
Things, though already clear,
Became even clearer still.
Not just because of Yeats’ words,
But by what my father earlier said.
He told me that life is full of obstacles,
That some surmount those obstacles and
Move on with their lives,
While others remain adrift at sea.
He demanded courage of me,
Courage equal to my desire be happy,
And to understand people are who they are
And will not be changed by me.
My decision must be base on the good as I see,
And not anyone or anything else but that good.
A tighten bow is always ready to be fired.
So Yeats’ beauty of the tightened bow is
Not a just a reference to her visage,
But her readiness to act while others remain still.
Still because their courage does not equal their desire.
My father said I am slow to act
Because I am, in his estimation, a decent and good man.
He said decent and good men quickly fall into a lover’s trap.
And oft times decent and good men are slow to act.
Not because their courage does equal their desire, he encouraged,
But because in overcoming the obstacle they don’t want to hurt anyone.
This is not possible in a storm tossed sea, he said to me.
You must act and do so quickly.
So I must act, and it has nothing to do with
Anyone but me and what is good and right.
The course is set and I will act.
I will not live a life set in misery.
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