liveonearth (liveonearth) wrote,
liveonearth
liveonearth

Poem: A Visitor by Mary Oliver


My father, for example
who was young once
and blue eyed,
returns
on the darkest of nights
to the porch and knocks
wildly at the door,
and I if I answer
I must be prepared
for his waxy face,
for his lower lip
swollen with bitterness.
And so, for a long time,
I did not answer,
but slept fitfully
between his hours of rapping.
But finally there came the night
when I rose out of my sheets
and stumbled down the hall.
The door fell open

and I knew I was saved
and could bear him,
pathetic and hollow,
with even the least of his dreams
frozen inside him,
and the meanness gone.
And I greeted him and asked him
into the house,
and lit the lamp,
and looked into his blank eyes
in which at last
I saw what a child must love,
I saw what love might have done
had we loved in time.
Tags: awareness, family, father, love, parenting, poetry
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