Tag Archives: Confidence

To a Daughter Leaving Home by Linda Pastan – re-post

linda-pastan

On May 27, 1932, Linda Pastan was born to a Jewish family in the Bronx. She graduated from Radcliffe College and received an MA from Brandeis University.

Among her publications are – Carnival Evening: New and Selected Poems 1968-1998 (W. W. Norton, 1998), which was nominated for the National Book Award; The Imperfect Paradise (W. W. Norton, 1988), a nominee for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.

Linda Pastan lives in Potomac, Maryland.

I feature two of her poems. The first one makes me laugh and think. When I first read the title, I thought she was writing about her daughter going to college, or at a wedding. When I read on to the last line, I could feel her heart. Yes, our children leave us in different stages and different circumstances.

I found myself letting Mercy go little by little as she was growing up. Letting her go in a way of respect her to become independent but still stay close by to be her support. When Mercy was in fifth grade, she configured my first cell phone. When she was a young adult, she became my friend as remains to be my daughter. At the present, I rely on her expertise and am not afraid to ask.

~

To A Daughter Leaving Home by Linda Pastan

When I taught you
at eight to ride
a bicycle, loping along
beside you
as you wobbled away
on two round wheels,
my own mouth rounding
in surprise when you pulled
ahead down the curved
path of the park,
I kept waiting
for the thud
of your crash as I
sprinted to catch up,
while you grew
smaller, more breakable
with distance,
pumping, pumping
for your life, screaming
with laughter,
the hair flapping
behind you like a
handkerchief waving
goodbye.

The second poem evokes my reflection on the question: when am I most myself? I think it is ever since I had cancer. I reflect on life vs. death, health vs. sickness, essential vs. contemporary, personal right vs. relationship. I accept who I am and no interest in pretending. I’m satisfied with what I have and no ambition to acquire “one more.”

~

Something About the Trees by Linda Pastan

I remember what my father told me:
There is an age when you are most yourself.
He was just past fifty then,
Was it something about the trees that make him speak?

There is an age when you are most yourself.
I know more than I did once.
Was it something about the trees that make him speak?
Only a single leaf had turned so far.

I know more than I did once.
I used to think he’d always be the surgeon.
Only a single leaf had turned so far,
Even his body kept its secrets.

I used to think he’d always be the surgeon,
My mother was the perfect surgeon’s wife.
Even his body kept its secrets.
I thought they both would live forever.

My mother was the perfect surgeon’s wife,
I can still see her face at thirty.
I thought they both would live forever.
I thought I’d always be their child.

I can still see her face at thirty.
When will I be most myself?
I thought I’d always be their child.
In my sleep, it’s never winter.

When will I be most myself?
I remember what my father told me.
In my sleep, it’s never winter.
He was just past fifty then.

~

This is an expansion of Pantoum Poem Form from 4 stanzas to 7 stanzas.

Stanza 1: 1, 2, 3, 4
Stanza 2: 2, 5, 4, 6
Stanza 3: 5, 7, 6, 8
Stanza 4: 7, 9, 8, 10
Stanza 5: 9, 11, 10, 12
Stanza 6: 11, 13, 12, 14
Stanza 7: 13, 1, 14, 3

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge – Waiting

 “Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort.” –Franklin D. Roosevelt

“Waiting is not a bad thing; it can bring its own joy – the thrill of achievement” – David Jeremiah

Mt Adams 1

Mt. Adams, Yakima County/Skamania County, Washington USA

Mercy and Will went cross-country skiing on Mt. Adams, in Yakima County / Skamania County, Washington USA. It is 12,280 feet elevation. They drove up to a campsite to camp, then hiked up to the top of the mountain. They wanted to reach the top of the mountain to see the sunrise. They did the timing of hiking. It was worth the effort of hiking and waiting. The magical moment came as the sun arose. The thrill and the joy were indescribable.  The emotion of such achievement could only expressed by the celebration of love.

Mt Adams 2

Mercy hiking, trying to keep up with Will and Luke

Mt Adams 3

The sun started to rise

Mt Adams 4

The magical moment

Mt Adams 5

Mercy, Will and Luke on top of Mt. Adams

They skied down to the campsite with confidence and pride.

~

Weekly Photo Challenge: Waiting

Daily Prompt: Tremble

oratorial-society-1976

When I was in my late teenage, the pastor of the church discovered my singing voice. Once a month, he asked me to sing solo during the communion service. After it went on for a couple years, when the churches had combined meetings, I was the featured soloist. I remember the first few times of singing in front of large audience, I was frightened to death. My body had uncontrollable violent trembling. My knees were shaking, hitting each other. My upper and lower teeth were vibrating. My shoulders to the fists were shivering. My heart was throbbing. I tried to tighten all of my muscles to hold still.

When it was to my turn to get on the podium, I looked at the audience. I tried to find familiar faces. When I saw some, I smiled, and then my trembling stopped. I nodded to the pianist to signal him to start. Once I started singing, the trembling stopped. I had the song memorized, so I sang through the whole song with expression and with smile on my face.

The same kind of fear of large audience happened a few more time. As I continued to sing, the confidence was increased. I frequently sang solo in church combined meetings, weddings, and college annual concerts. I joined the Hong Kong Oratorical Society for years until I came to the USA. We had two performances and one TV broadcast each year. We also traveled to Southeast Asia countries for performances. Those were my memorable years.

Daily Prompt: Tremble