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Thoughts On A Birthday

by Zettel 

Posted: 20 March 2014
Word Count: 168
Summary: Our Children are the best of us

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Thoughts On A Birthday

Our children are the best of us
as theirs one day will be too
their task is to surpass us
ours to love them when they do

Like sparks, adrift in a darkling sky
we blaze, and burn, then glow
a flame of life and love eternal
to touch, to feel, to know

The thief of time beguiles us
with then, and now, and soon
shared life and love slip by
'til a finite midnight usurps an endless noon

But we can steal back precious moments
for passion is not bound by measured time
shared fragments of love eternal
a sense of life transcendent and sublime

These priceless, timeless moments of eternity
like the river's rush, the oceans' tides
although ever-flowing, ever-changing
are proof undoubting that love, abides

Our children are the best of us
our love impels their dreams not ours
with truth and honour, like us, as their guide
their lives will not be measured in mere years, or months, or hours

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Comments by other Members

James Graham at 21:54 on 26 March 2014  Report this post
This has grown out of a little poem you posted some time ago, which you described as ‘hardly a poem’ – ‘Handing On’. I thought it was indeed a poem, saying a lot in a few words, so at first this poem seemed too long, saying much the same in a lot more words. But getting to know it better, it’s clear there’s much more in it, justifying its length.
Your fire imagery in the second stanza is one of the good things, and I think the lines

The thief of time beguiles us
with then, and now, and soon

follow very well from it. I like these lines especially: I always like to see in a poem the simplest words, words used countless times every day, shown to us in such a way that we have to look at them afresh. ‘Then’, ‘now’ and ‘soon’ are such indeterminate words; especially as we get older, when we talk about what happened ‘then’, ‘at that time’, it’s just sometime in the past but when exactly we’re not very sure at all. And does ‘now’ even exist? And again, as we grow older ‘soon’ has to be reasonably soon. All this waffle of mine is just to say how effective these two lines are – we are indeed ‘beguiled’ by our perceptions of past, present and future.
The last stanza picks up not only the opening line but the time theme too, and it ends the poem strongly.
A handful of points to consider. In the ‘fire’ stanza, there’s something not quite right about this line:

Like sparks, then embers, adrift in a darkling sky

While sparks from a bonfire do drift into the night sky, it’s hard to imagine embers doing so. Perhaps simply

Like sparks adrift in a darkling sky

would be better. Also I think you could leave out one word in the second last stanza:

are proof that something, love, abides

It improves the rhythm, and it literally goes without saying that ‘proof’ – certainly in this context – is undoubted.
Finally, again to improve the rhythm:

Our children are the best of us
our love impels their dreams not ours

Thank you for this poem. I enjoyed it for personal reasons too – my children have surpassed me, and my grandchildren, now young adults, are well on the way to surpassing them in turn!

Zettel at 02:23 on 27 March 2014  Report this post
ThanKs James. Agree with all you rpoints. Amended accordingly. Improves. Thanks.

Best K

Bazz at 13:40 on 16 April 2014  Report this post
An interesting poem. As someone who doesn't have children, i can only relate to this at face value. I wonder what it says if our children are the best of us, and what it means to those of us who'll never have children? much to think about.

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