This month in honor of Mother’s Day, I am sharing one of my personal favorites—a very special poem I wrote to my own daughter while she served in the United States Coast Guard. I am humbled in that this poem has circulated wide and far,word having gotten back to me that some very special things have been accomplished with it in setting relationships right and as last prayers of a dying parent to their children. Please know you may need a tissue on hand while reading.
If I could be a wall for you, I would my child.
If I could be a sword for you,
I would that, too.
And if I could, a sentry man be
that stands guard in your dreams,
I would stand fierce and true.
I would stand as a massive fortress between you
and life’s arrows. I’d slay your fire-breathing dragons
and shield you from the illusive shadows that call.
I would hold you close in my arms and
sing you lullabies like when you were small.
I would take your pain.
But I cannot.
I’m only a mortal given a child on loan.
and it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done
to stand and watch while you become
a person of your own.
To accept you must fight your own dragons,
shed your own tears and fend off
dark phantoms who stalk your sleep.
I can only stand and perceive that I love you
with every heart’s beat, with every breath
that I breathe.
And to love you is to let you go, to allow you
your time and your pain, your right to
your own life, knowing that the tragedies
of today are the seeds of tomorrow’s gains.
And my love for you, my child, is a deep ache inside;
yet this one thing I know—that when God
reclaims my soul, my last breath
will be a prayer for you.
© 1993 ~ S. Wolfington