When I was going through old papers the other day, I stumbled upon a few photocopied poems by Li-Young Lee. I can't remember when I first read his poem "The Gift," but coming upon it unexpectedly and reading it again was indeed a gift.
I love the way Lee tells two stories in this poem, linking the present and the past by way of a small silver splinter. The power of memory shines in this poem, as well as the power of the love we carry with us through memories.
To pull the metal splinter from my palm
my father recited a story in a low voice.
I watched his lovely face and not the blade.
Before the story ended, he’d removed
the iron sliver I thought I’d die from.
I can’t remember the tale,
but hear his voice still, a well
of dark water, a prayer.
The rest of the poem can be found here at The Poetry Foundation. Karen Edmisten is hosting Poetry Friday this week.