The Hermit Poet

October 3, 2007

Circle and Stone

Filed under: General — Neil Aitken @ 7:25 pm

Today my father would have turned 60.

I was thinking of him this morning as I sat on my bed and read Macbeth again in the Kittredge edition of Shakespeare he had left me. His notes were in the margins — not many, just a comment or two on irony, some arrows pointing back to characters referred to obliquely. Just enough to know that he’d passed this way before, thinking and pondering the same problems of free will and fate. Sometimes it’s hard to imagine him younger than me, puzzling his way through this text as an undergraduate.

I should be writing a paper right now, but I’m stalling.

I’m thinking of this moment. I’m thinking of kites in the skies. Of the strings which tether them. Of the birds they mimic. I’m thinking of the impossible blue of summer. Of the world of childhood. Of trees. Of the wind which sweeps in unexpected and lifts a thin frame upward and almost out of sight. I’m thinking of my father. The hundreds of letters he sent me wherever I went, whatever the circumstance. I’m thinking of the circumference of gratitude, of the borrowed garb of beauty. How language is a city of words. How each letter is a letter. Of the joy of simple communication, the rough order of delight — how it comes unexpected, silent, comforting. How an arm we do not expect embraces us with a fire and a love for the world and for the world to come.

Here is a circle. Here is a stone.
Here is my father at 60, on the other shore,
reading by the river. The light is good here,
the light is good. He can speak again.
This too is good.

Happy birthday Dad.

2 Responses to “Circle and Stone”

  1. Christine Aitken Says:

    That was beautiful, Neil, thank you for thinking and writing about your father, it gave me great comfort.
    Love you,
    Your mother

  2. Deborah Says:

    no matter how distant

    the ocean seems when I fall asleep
    somewhere tonight another stone breaks
    beneath the weight of waves
    and with the turn of tides
    another grain of sand comes home

    I stumbled on this poem today as I searched through my enormous “poetry box” in search of an elusive poem I wrote years ago. I didn’t find my own, but this fragment of yours made me think to check your blog. Beautiful tribute to your father. Best wishes to you.

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