• Grant Handgis ~ Author/Poet

"Message to a Son" First Lesson

Message to a son

First Lesson

While I walked on the beach in Mazatlan

I saw the places where your

footprints would be were

you there, your caste shadow

a twin star to my own and

when I peer beyond

your pained original face, I

see back in time, to places

visited in youth, where life

was larger than I, and

there was little defense

or refrain

I've walked this beach a hundred times

a hundred, and was there watching

as you came forth into the world

pulling in your first sweet smell

of air, and still you taste

this same breath of life, but

without the awe of adolescence

for now you are a man, who

has yet to walk the beach

alone, to the place where

all one carries is empty hands

and humility

where time is the movement of a breeze

and the song of the surf

and your bread is the hammer

on the anvil, where the spirit

is forged, by the ten thousand

steps along the sand, and

courage is staying your course

true and correct, leaving behind

the petty and the shallow dreams

and illusions, for

it is a predatory place we live, as

men live in fear of their own

machinations, and willingly grab

a hunk of iron to dominate

and control the fearing souls


do not weep for the weak

spending your time in pity

wasted, but work the forge again

and again, step by

step, elongating the molten form

pulling it over itself, then

hammering it back

into one

thus repeated the fifty times

and the beach will offer gifts

which you should share

in the spirit of holding nothing

while touching everything of life, for

when you meet an evil on the shore

of brutes who would do you harm

holding the length of iron

in one hand, and hatred

in the other

you will deftly reach within

yourself, and grasp the forged blade

of the warrior, for

with contented heart

and practiced hand

you will harvest them

to the shame of their ancestors

Copyright 1978-2011

I began focusing my poetry on more personal matters concerning interactions between people, as in the poem “The Cold Shoulder of Caring”, where the offer of help has less to do with altruism and much to do with taking advantage of a helpless lass. In all societies there are opportunists who violate others for personal gain and profit. For a poet, this is ripe for poetic reprisal.

This poem, and the two which follow were written out of the timeline of the other poems of this collection by some years. I added them to this collection being they fit the theme inherent theme and style therein. The poem also reflects a period of my life when my son had grown into his own manhood, learning the values and meaning of the poetry within “On Seeking The Way”. This poem was the first poetic message I wrote for the sake of my son, learned from my own trials in life.


g. Michael Handgis Photography


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