These poems were written for my daughter, Shiri,
on the death of her father, Wordsworth McAndrew, in 2008
Lines to a poet, wondering…
Among the many,
The many, many
Delicious definitions of love
That you so passionately researched
For the entertainment of generations yet to come,
Did you ever discover any,
Did you register any
Of a father’s
For his child?
To Wordsworth – a lasting legacy
The daughter that you never chose to love,
The one, one day, you didn’t dare to meet,
Whose life you chose to leave a thing apart,
Whose joys and pain you didn’t care to share,
Can you imagine how she chose to mark
Your absence from the absence that she knew?
I do not think you can. Were you afraid
Of her disdain, of her dismissing you?
She went alone and bought a weeping tree
And planted it, because ‘that’s what they do’.
And I, who had not wept for you before,
Was overawed at the magnificence
Of such forgiving love as this for you.
And filled my eyes. I’ve never loved her more.
The first poem refers a list of nearly 40 Stages of Love
which Wordsworth compiled from the East Indian tradition in Guyana,
beginning with the relatively mild Typee, through Chiranghi,
Chiranghi-bang-bang, Chiranghi-look-boop, & Totilotipo,
to the dizzy heights of Zeggeh-heh-saha
and Ezapootilingoof (“…typee till yo bajoodie!”)
Its title is a reference to one of his own poems, called “Lines to a Cartman, pushing.”