Lie back, daughter, let your head be tipped back in the cup of my hand. Gently, and I will hold you. Spread your arms wide, lie out on the stream and look high at the gulls. A dead- man's-float is face down. You will dive and swim soon enough where this tidewater ebbs to the sea. Daughter, believe me, when you tire on the long thrash to your island, lie up, and survive. As you float now, where I held you and let go, remember when fear cramps your heart what I told you: lie gently and wide to the light-year stars, lie back, and the sea will hold you.
This poem speaks maybe more directly than any others I know to that panicky fear that shakes me sometimes. I love the image (reminiscent of baptism) of the father cupping the daughter's head, teaching her to float on the water. The very definite rhyme - though completely unobtrusive and occasionaly slant - buoys up the lines invisibly, just like the water will hold up the daughter (head, Spread, dead-; dive, believe, survive; held you, told you, hold you, alternating with fear and light-year.) Right at the center of the poem is an interesting internal rhyme: Daughter with water - as if in some way the water and the daughter are really one substance - and thus no reason not to trust herself to it.
matter [ME matere, fr. OF matere, matiere, fr. L materia] tree trunk (<"matrix," the tree's source of growth) matter, subject, physical substance, wood for building, fr. mater mother
mother Based ultimately on the baby-talk form ma- 2 [Indo-European ma - 1 <"good" with derivatives meaning "occurring at a good moment, timely, seasonable, early, ripe" ; ma- 2 <"breast" an imitative root derived from the child's cry for the breast, a linguistic near-universal found in many of the world's languages; ma- 3 <"damp ") [ME moder, fr. OE modor, akin to OHG muoter, ON mothir, L mater (maternal, maternity, matriculate, matrix, matron), Gk meter (metro-, metropolis [<"mother city]; Demeter [< "god-mother"], Skt matr]
meter [ME meter, metre, fr. OE & MF, fr. L metrum, fr. Gk metron (<"measure" ) fr. IE root me-] meter, metrical, diameter, geometry, metronome. Suffixed forms mens, men-ot (<"moon, month") an ancient and universal unit of time measured by the moon (menarche, meniscus, menopause, menses, menstrual, bimester, semester, trimester).
poetry [fr. ME poet, poete fr. OF poete, fr. L poeta, fr. Gk poietes, poetes <"maker, composer, poet, fr. poien to make, do , create, compose"] akin to Skt cinoti <"he gathers, heaps up, piles in order," OSlav ciniti <"to arrange, to pile up"
padre from papa, achild's word for "father," a linguistic near-universal found in many languages. [IE root pa- <"to protect, feed" (fodder, forage, pabulum, food, foster, pasture, repast, pastor <"shepherd, protector") (ME fader, fr. OE faeder; akin to OHG fater, ON fathir, Goth fadar, L pater, Jupiter [<"god-father"], patrare [<"to bring about"]; Gk pater, Skt pitr) patrician, patrimony, patron, pater, paternal
pattern [ME patron, fr. MF, fr. L patronus (<"master, pattern") fr. L defender, protector, advocate, fr. patr-, pater (<"father") a fully realized form, original, or model accepted or proposed for imitation, archetype, exemplar.