Friday, August 12, 2011

Poetry Friday: The Gift

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.

9 comments:

Ma said...

Lovely, lovely, lovely....I read the whole thing at Poetry Foundation, ( I was just there a few weeks ago in Chicago), and am trying to mark it as a favorite....but I can’t seem to log in right. Ergg...

Myra Garces-Bacsal from GatheringBooks said...

I love the title of the poem - reminded me of a poem that a very good friend has shared with me 12 years ago. Made me smile. Thanks for sharing this.

Beth said...

So glad you enjoyed it...I just love this poem. So many of Lee's most beautiful poems seem to involve memories of his parents.

And glad it brought a memory and a smile!

Tabatha said...

How nice to run across poems by Li-Young Lee. Back in March, I posted some of his poems for Poetry Friday.
I like your site!

Karen Edmisten said...

Beautiful, Beth.

Beth said...

Tabatha, glad you stopped by! And glad to know another Li-Young Lee enthusiast. I have loved his poems for a long time...

Beth said...

Glad you enjoyed it, Karen!

Carlie said...

That positively makes me shiver. Fabulously beautiful. Can I get sliver now so that Lee can take it out?

Beth said...

Carlie, it gives me that feeling too! Definite shivers...