Sunday, June 20, 2021

'How Little Is Needed to Be Reconciled'

If you are a parent, the thought has occurred to you – perhaps late on a sleepless night, or during a long drive on the interstate , or when recovering from surgery – that the only worthwhile thing you have done with your life is to have children. You’ve fulfilled the biological imperative and perpetuated the species, yes, but you hope you’ve passed along something good and essential, what remains when you scrape away the selfishness and behave like a decent human being. Someone said, “Propinquity breeds special relationship,” and “special” is freighted with ambiguity. There’s always guilt, and regret for things undone, but my sons seldom bore me and often make me proud. Zbigniew Herbert writes in “Remembering My Father” (trans. John and Bogdana Carpenter”):


“he himself grows in me we eat our defeats

we burst out laughing

when they say how little is needed

to be reconciled”

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