Looking to Father’s Day, a new dad imparts some poetic advice, thinking of the future that he, his partner, and their two newborn sons will share.
To my sons Fox Henry and Foster Wesley:
How did Guernica emerge from a massive blank canvas? Why do leaves know when to become intense reds and oranges? And, how is it that your home was filled with the soothing music of Ravi Shankar throughout the nine months your dads waited to meet you, serendipitously, on Ravi’s birthday, April 7th?
Looking at you, I am humbled by nature’s brilliance and by the sublime power of creativity. Borrowing a phrase sung by Billie Holiday, who also shares your birthday, let me state plainly that “Everything I have is yours.”
I see us travelling to India to retrace your first moments, and talking with you both about what we can contribute to the world. I am reminded of the closing of William Wordsworth’s poem “Anecdote for Fathers”:
O dearest, dearest boy! my heartFor better lore would seldom yearn,Could I but teach the hundredth partOf what from thee I learn.
Please know that when clouds emerge, they will pass. Remember Walt Whitman’s “On the Beach at Night”:
Weep not, child,Weep not, my darling,With these kisses let me remove your tears;The ravening clouds shall not long be victorious,They shall not long possess the sky—shall devour the stars only in apparition:Jupiter shall emerge—be patient—watch again another night—the Pleiades shall emerge,They are immortal—all those stars, both silvery and golden, shall shine out again,The great stars and the little ones shall shine out again—they endure;The vast immortal suns, and the long-enduring pensive moons, shall again shine.
Remember that time moves quickly. Enjoy every sunset. And know that you are made from the energy that fuels the universe. I am at home when you both are around. Thank you for helping your dads celebrate their first Father’s Day.
Dr. Matthew Palczynski is the Curator of Woodmere Art Museum, and adjunct instructor at Tyler School of Art. He lives with his partner James Gaddy and their boys in Northern Liberties.