Credit: marymademe.com

Credit: marymademe.com

Change is a fundamental fact of life. The Buddha observed that everything changes all the time and this is a cause of sorrow. If we remain equanimous while experiencing change sorrow will not afflict us. We ourselves change from moment to moment. We are not the same person which we see in a photographs of the past – childhood, youth, maturity, yesterday, five minutes ago. They are all different persons seemingly connected. It is as if we reincarnate from moment to moment not merely at the end of a life. We are able to observe this phenomenon more acutely in our children – they keep changing quite remarkably and if we were not conscious of it the child who you knew scarcely resembles what he is now  – with varied experiences of life transforming him every moment. This thought is not a sophisticated intellectual excercise but a vivid realization which all parents have known even if they did not put it down in words. My poem seeks to capture such a feeling, difficult to explain, like a rare visual caught suddenly on your camera:

 

            THE   CHILD   I   KNEW

 

Where is the child I knew,

Merged now in my grown son’s face ?

As if he just left the stage

And moved behind the wings

Allowing another to take his place.

Where his high voice has gone

Never to return, his little face ?

Another person I love well

Now inhabits that space,

Till I meet him again and another

Man has replaced the one I knew,

Now standing face to face

Like someone holding a baton in a race

As the others fade into the distance

And then even he moves on

As someone sprints ahead keeping pace

With my latest son. bearing my face.

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