A prayer for my daughter

by John Boland

Somewhere out there,
further than I can see,
she bobs over the waves,

beyond the blue horizon,
sailing away from me
towards another country.

Less than two hours ago
we wrenched her from her dreams
and drove her down at dawn

to this bleak terminal.
It is nothing, really,
a three-day school outing

to Shakespeare’s birthplace,
yet it is a little death,
this first excursion

out on her own. Half woman now
but still half child,
she’s needed me to say

those very things
that leave me speechless,
to do what’s left undone.

All I can manage is to wish
her troubled soul
some things worth having:

not just love in the heart,
but laughter, ease and peace,
and the wisdom to recognise

whoever or whatever
may bring these gifts to her.
Right now she’s somewhere out there,

whispering and giggling
as she nears the other side,
and unaware, I trust,

that the more I dwindle
in her thoughts,
the more she looms in mine.

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