To Seth, who was not yet meant to be
August 12, 1997
for the four of us that summer:
Me, wide-eyed by the wilds,
my sweet wife of two years
and my parents-for-life.
Sun-spangled days and
The benediction of campfire smoke
and the green-healing of pine forests.
One afternoon a little family passes by in their canoe,
Two children ensconced like small jewels in their seats.
They camp next to us. In early evening the father teaches his little girl to paddle,
with calm patience and clear visions of distant canoe trips in his eyes.
Lying watching on the flat rock, my eyes cannot escape.
Thirty-seven and counting,
my back sorer from portaging this year than it was last year,
gray hairs, more than before.
The news came this morning - no child for us
nine months hence.
Another cycle of prayers shattered and splintered,
Another cycle of hopes deferred,
with heart-sickening finality.
O Seth, Seth, my son,
You were not yet meant to be.
Naming you has brought the sweetness
and the hurt
Too quickly home to my far-traveling heart.
A loon calls distantly, mourning your unborn possibilities
As we sleep again under sizzling rain.
Tomorrow the trip continues
by paddle and portage,
A trip of sweet sadness, of healing waters.
A long trip that you will never know.
"Hope deferred makes the heart sick . . . " (Proverbs 13:12)
Would you like to hear the good news? In 2001, just under four years later, we adopted a wonderful little baby of Inuit origin, who is (along with his brother!) our pride and joy.
And yes. . . we named him Seth.