New Occidental Poetry

A Family is a vase

A family is a vase

The flowers are the happiness they have

The water is the good things they create

Whether the blooms are weeds, dandelion or thistle or columbine

Or whether they are roses cut with care from the finest of gardens

They are dead, rather dying toward dead, kept alive only by the water, and only a little longer


When your mother found me, broken and alone, she saw a shape where lay only shards

She carefully pieced them together, slicing her fingers and scratching her palms

The mosaic of a wasted man, a life lived in every direction but beneficial

But with time and care, and a woman’s touch, she managed to make

A vessel, a device that was sound, if only in the foundation

And taking a chance, she poured herself into me


The vessel leaked, my son

It spilled water that could not be replaced

It stained the hardwood of a home yet built, and made deep rings

But she continued to pour, and the bits of grit swirling in the shattered-made-whole

Slowly wedged themselves in the crevices and cracks that no amount of kindness could fill

And, against all odds, your mother made a vase, crooked and lovely, worthy of flowers of any kind


The vase still leaks, my little boy, and it must be guarded with all of our hearts, for there are dangers

A wide world of wanton wasters, wishing and willing weakness on whoever they fear

And they fear us, my child, they fear what we would do with a world they trashed

They fear our history almost as much as they dread our potential

And they will do anything to destroy us, expecting thanks

For what they truly hate is family and faith


So… watch, Hobbes

Watch your mother closely to learn how to heal

Watch your father steadfastly to learn how to destroy

Watch your brothers and sisters to learn how to be a leader

Watch your inferiors to remember what is at stake

Watch your elders to know what is true

Watch your enemies to know who to hate

Watch, my son… always be watching


For one day, it will be your job to build the vase

And there are so few left who are willing to help

And all the world is so ready to break

-Frederick Algernon