I TEACH MY CHILD

Gemino H. Abad



I.
I teach my child
To survive.
I begin with our words,
The simple words first
And last.
They are hardest to learn.

Words like home,
Or friend, or to forgive.
These words are relations.
They are difficult to bear;
Their fruits are unseen.

Or words that promise
Or dream.
Words like honor, or certainty,
Or cheer.
Rarest of sound,
Their roots run deep;
These are words that aspire,
They cast no shade.

These are not words
To speak.
These are the words
Of which we consist,
Indefinite,
Without other ground.

II.
My child
Is without syllables
To utter him,
Captive yet to his origin
In silence.


By every word
To rule his space,
He is released;
He is shaped by his speech.

Every act, too,
Is first without words.
There's no rehearsal
To adjust your deed
From direction of its words.

The words are given,
But there's no script.
Their play is hidden,
We are their stage.

These are the words
That offer to our care
Both sky and earth,

These same words
That may elude our acts.
If we speak them
But cannot meet their sound,
They strand us still
In our void,
Blank like the child
With the uphill silence
Of his words' climb.

And so,
I teach my child
To survive.
I begin with our words,
The simple words first

And last.