Full Heart SingingISBN: 978-1-4490-4159-5
Full Heart Singing: Letters and Poems to a Girlchild. Parents of young children may resonate to these glimpses from a fathering heart into the vastness of a father's love for his new daughter. 156 pages.
Later poems about April, and many as well about our son Adam who arrived in early 1989, can be found in my Deep Joy, Steep Challenge: 365 Poems about Parenting. But this present volume's focus has been on my daughter's hidden years, hidden, that is, with regard to her own conscious memories but decidedly un-hidden with regard to her father's heart. When your heart is filled you sing, and words on a page are this father's way of singing.
May they sing first of all to April, hopefully helping her in the years to come increasingly, in Walt Whitman's words, to celebrate and sing herself as she ponders the songs she called out of her father and mother right from the start.
May they sing to my life-partner Penny who has shared with me the great privilege and joy of cultivating April's garden and watching her blossom over the years and whose own manner of generosity, more practical than lyrical, has more to do with singing action than singing words. A more loving mother of April and Adam I cannot imagine.
May they sing to other fathers and mothers who may smile to be reminded, beyond the fatigue and the worry, of the mind-boggling wonder and the heart-bursting joy.
May they sing to spirit-journeyers everywhere, ever alert to manifestations of the infinity of tenderness called out of us by children.
May they sing to the Spirit of the universe, addressed among other things as Father and Great Mother, bursting with pleasure to keep doing it again. How not wax lyrical to recognize within us when we love God doing it again?
My daughter is almost 3.
When a body reaches upward (like a flower in spring),
when a mind opens bright to a world of light,
when a personality deepens daily into endearing singularity,
how disbelieve in miracles?
Parenthood from afar may seem tedious and constricting,
but up close it catches your breath,
draws on every one of your powers.
To be a father or mother is grand introduction
to a universe that flowers!
Focusing on Just One Gift
A rich musing for any evening
is to focus one’s total attention on just one gift received,
one gift of such stabbing beauty and meaning
that remembrance of it even in darkness
floods with enough breathtaking radiance
to justify the entire sweep of a life.
Just a father musing on a February evening
on how the single gift of his radiant daughter
justifies the entire sweep of his life.
Letter of July 10, 1985
Let me describe for you something your mother did the other night which expresses beautifully something about her spirit that outshines the sun. We were talking on the phone with your Grandmother Finn, and Grandmother mentioned that she has such a need to lose herself in happy reading after the crushing hours she spends every day surrounded by your Aunt Cathy's suffering--but, alas, she can find no such books to escape into and be lightened by.
Well, not an hour after that your mother brought me a wrapped package to take to the mailbox the following morning. She had found a dozen or so books, happy hopeful books, and made a gift for Grandmother. It's like she not only felt for Grandmother but immediately used her head to think of something to do for Grandmother. That's love, my April, just one of the ways your mother's heart and soul and spirit reveal themselves. I can talk and write about love, but I don't live it in the way your mother does. Just wanted to tell you why I respect her so and learn from her so, and am so happy for your sake that she is your mother. Our lives are blessed beyond fathoming, little April, by her presence. Which is another way of saying you and I are lucky, kid.