A little tooth shows us a big, big truth….

Thomas Lux by Dorothy Alexander

This is something of a random, impulsive post; but I just had to share with you a wonderful poem that was introduced at the reading group I attend. We are lucky to have the poet Julia Copus running our group and last night she was able to spend just a few moments on three short verses by American Poet Thomas Lux. However, they made a deep impression.

The poem speaks to me of all those things that I feel are important at the moment; growing up, growing older and learning not to regret anything. Understanding the natural progression of things and learning not to fear them. It reinforces the value of life at the same time as summarising it in one fabulous sentence: ‘You did, you loved, your feet are sore’. And it highlights the importance of noting these things – in poetry, prose, a diary to make sure our precious thoughts aren’t lost.

It is also a call to parents to seize the day: children speed to adulthood and suddenly they are forging their own path.

A Little Tooth by Thomas Lux

Your baby grows a tooth, then two,

and four, and five, then she wants some meat

directly from the bone.  It’s all

over: she’ll learn some words, she’ll fall

in love with cretins, dolts, a sweet

talker on his way to jail.  And you,

your wife, get old, flyblown, and rue

nothing.  You did, you loved, your feet

are sore.  It’s dusk.  Your daughter’s tall.

For me it was even more poignant. As Julia finished reading, my beautiful – and tall – 16 year old daughter knocked and came in for her lift home.

Apparently too many of us in our 40’s and 50’s are finding little time to write about the truth of our own daily lives, our own feelings about the world we live in. Those journals that would be so precious to our grandchildren, nephews or nieces when they want to learn more of their past are put to one side in favour of thinking about our own ancestry. We have to remember that the dusk Thomas Lux speaks of comes around all too soon. So try everything, regret nothing, note everything…..

This entry was posted in Family History, love the universe and everything, Poetry, Random musings on family life, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to A little tooth shows us a big, big truth….

  1. Jade says:

    This is an amazing poem and I loved reading your commentary on it. 🙂
    It manages to express so much in only a few words.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    Oh how very true your sentiments are!!!

    I too have children (two strapping girls of 12 and 16) and cannot for the life of me understand where the intervening years went. When they were babies, I remember being impatient for those ‘important’ milestones on the road to independence – the first steps, feeding themselves. Now I wish those days would come back.

    I am a student of history and now realise the importance of leaving a record behind for future generations. I’ve been telling the girls which personal possessions of mine they should keep to hand down to their own grandchildren. Today, these are mundane trivia; tomorrow they will be a historian’s evidence.

    I’m going to stick the poem on my wall so I don’t forget.
    Wonderful post!

  3. Rivenrod says:

    This poem is so beautiful even though it’s delivered in a matter of fact kind of a way. To my mind it describes inevitability, which could be tinged with an attitude of hopelessness. I also get regret, as if raising children – “on his way to jail” “your daughter’s tall”– could be a waste of emotional energy. Hmmmmm!

    When it comes to babies I am soft. I have a thing about their feet, so perfect, so much opportunity, so many inches and yards . . . and noses.

    Crass and a cliché but it makes me think about how children seem to be so blasé about doing things. Let’s strive to be human doings rather than just being. Fear is a big thing isn’t it. Too many will do nothing through fear. I remember sitting in a long Chinese launch on a river in Borneo (Brunei Darussalam). One of the children of the family I was with leant over the side and picked up a water snake. I’ll give you one guess how terrified I was! I wasn’t to know that most water snakes are not venomous. The thing is, up close, the snake was absolutely beautiful.

    Come on Suzie, what can we do to find the time to write our journals, there are way too many people in the world who need our help. HA!

    • keatsbabe says:

      Regret, acceptance perhaps? You are right, there is an air of inevitability. Julia highlighted the endings and beginnings of the verses and how it reinforces the sense that the poem can be read in more than one way. It is marvellous.

      Yes – journals! Perhaps what we write on our blogs will be perceived as a reflection of oour personalities and what is important to us in future years? Oh dear…

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