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“The life of every man is a way to himself, an attempt at a way, the suggestion of a path.”
Hermann Hesse

I Am Your Vessel, Not Your Captain

for my son on his birthday

“to a world that once was mine and now is yours —
may you make it someone else’s”

The universe sent out its stream of grace
to travel through my river bed of time
towards another tomorrow
where I will have been your boat
and of which I will not be a part.

You sailed out from your mother’s womb
on this river which flows towards the stars
on your journey further afield
than I will have ever been.

May I be your boat for a little while
and may you sail out, sail out far
and sail this boat that I am
and take me to my limits
may the winds howl
and the Wild Things growl
may you ride in my shelter until I break.

To where the river bends no more
where it has become the estuary
of your adolescence
where I shall sink with joy
for I have found the voice
that called me through the mists
it came from within me and now is you
may you find it too.

But before you jump and swim ashore
those foreign lands which are your home
I wish for nothing else but that
you learn to love yourself and do what you will
that is the only moral you shall hear from me
when I cite was is inscribed inside your heart.

It is you that must remind me time and time again
that I am your vessel, not your captain
for I have been sailing under your command
since long before my own adventures
to a world that once was mine and now is yours —
may you make it someone else’s.

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