(for my son, Daniel)
The child is sleeping,
folded in among the brown boughs of my arms,
and a promise, formed beyond language, drawn upward
like sap through a pith, stirs through me.
In its slow course, i feel a vow so deep
it does not reach the flower and fade of word
but leaves me steeped, resined, in its truth.
Because i wish this child, awake, a man,
to know that he can keep, lifelong,
the trust, the self-astonishing joy that he has now
and he can draw from them the strength to make
his true path from the place i am
to where he will become, for his own child, a tree,
i vow: these boughs will never break.
From Night Vision. Copyright © 2005 by Kendel Hippolyte. Used with the permission of Peepal Tree Press.