Monday 24 September 2007

Driving Away

This is the day Lucy drives Stephanie down to begin her illustration course at Portsmouth University. Having her at home this past year on a foundation course has been bonus for us all. Stephanie's always been somewhat magical, with her infectious sense of fun, easy talent at art, zany way with words. I'm sure we aren't the only rather sappy proud parents in England this week.
So here, just for the record, is the original and best poem about this sort of thing, that came vividly to mind when Catherine went to University, and does now — Cecil Day Lewis’ Walking Away — for Sean:
It is eighteen years ago, almost to the day-
A sunny day with the leaves just turning,
The touch-lines new-ruled - since I watched you play
Your first game of fotball, then, like a satellite
Wrenched from its orbit, go drifting away

Behind a scatter of boys. I can see
You walking away from me towards the school
with the pathos of a half-fledged thing set free
Into a wilderness, the gait of one
Who finds no path where the path should be.

That hesitant figure, eddying away
Like a winged seed loosened from its parent stem,
Has something I never quite grasp to convey
About nature's give-and-take - the small, the scorching
Ordeals which fire one's irresolute clay.

I had worse partings, but none that so
Gnaws at my mind still. Perhaps it is roughly
Saying what God alone could perfectly show-
How selfhood begins with a walking away,
And love is proved in the letting go.

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