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"Songs of Innocence"

A hand-colored illustration by William Blake to accompany his poem “Songs of Innocence,” published in 1789

(A Poem)

Naively, I thought that the innocent babe in my arms
would always be mine to hold.
The child who ran to me with an injured knee
was completely content to receive my comfort.
I thought that I had all the answers.
Now I cling to the memory of that window of time
when I was able to show you a mother’s
humble attempt at sharing love, values, and beliefs.

In your mind, you have closed childhood’s door. As a result,
you are a million miles away.
It seems as if I cannot reach you.
All my words bounce back to me,
like balls in a game.
Are you playing games with me now
that you are taller than me?
Your contemplative silence feels like a game to me.

In your adulthood, you have become someone else.
Who is this person, who stands before me?
I—who bore you, fed you, trained you—
shouldn’t I have some say?
But, here you stand before me; you are your own person.
And I must wonder: other than bringing you
into the world and helping you grow physically,
what role did I play?

The circumstances of your life moved you
many miles away.
I cannot hug you.
Every day I wonder: What are you doing?
Who are you meeting? Helping?
Where is your life taking you?
Did you think this through
when you let distance determine our destinies?
Do you, like me, reminisce about the good ole days when we
lived in sweet simplicity?

You stand before me; you are a fully-orbed individual.
Your thoughts are laid out for me
like building blocks of all that is noble and true.
Your heart pours out with rivers of love,
which are far greater than the stream
that was mine to give.
I am blessed beyond measure to be your mother.

~ Alice Cecil

(Note: The narrator is one of many mothers who knows God’s grace on her journey.)