A Poem for Nathanael’s Sixth…and Seventh…Birthdays
May 3, 2013
It’s true—I really should be jailed:
Forgive me, son, for I have failed
As poet of the home.
This day last year, when you turned six,
When, from my rhyming bag of tricks,
I should have grabbed poetic bricks
To build your birthday poe’m,
I didn’t—and the reason why
Would make a heartless giant cry,
In pity for my woes;
But let’s not bring that up again!
Please, just forgive me for my sin
(Or, if it will augment your grin,
Just punch me on the nose!)
But now, your birthday’s here again,
You’re six from thirteen, three from ten
(That’s seven, in my view);
By writing at the end of year,
I can look back on all the cheer,
On every joy and every fear,
On how you changed and grew.
But I can also look ahead,
To things you’ve not yet done or said
Which you should not (or should);
But first the past: look back with me:
A stronger boy is what I see,
In faith, in hope, in loyalty,
In loving what is good.
You’re more mature, your wisdom grows;
And like a wind that always blows,
Your mind moves all around;
Asking questions, seeking facts,
For anything your knowledge lacks,
You’re always filling in the cracks
Of Understanding’s ground.
And yet, I ought to caution you,
That something else is stronger too—
I wonder if you know?
As you grow strong in love and grace,
An enemy that you must face
Is right behind and keeping pace—
Keep close your shield and bow.
Temptation is the villain’s name:
A foe of rather famous name,
I’m sure you’ve heard of him;
So in the year that’s up ahead,
The Year of your First Wine and Bread,
Don’t let him fill your heart with dread,
To make your hope grow dim.
Press on in all that’s sound and true,
In hard things that are good for you,
Do not despise the rod;
As I have seen your love for me
Grow like the first Edenic tree,
More than all else I look to see
Your stronger love for God.