|E.A. Hanninen - 2008
Daniel E. Wilcox
The Nature of Fishhooks
My youngest daughter, Hope, learned-disabled early,
Struggling with the squiggles and the numeric
Of unseen realities, of knowing, that set the stars
In motion and our minds in transition.
zest died while, as her father and provider,
I practiced disabling late, raised to belief's unreason —
rigid way of Huck's Miss Watson — stubborn
In righteous doctrine, ignoring the doctor's suggestion,
Hope medication, but believing in literal petition.
So I prayed time-round-the-three for my daughter's minded healing,
just like gullible Finn and his never-gotten fishhooks,
Hope got none, and I— doubt, ill-gotten mishap, and bilge,
lessening into cynicism, the wounded death
Of an ash-filled, but empty-praying mouth.
Yet unlike Huck, to this day
I keep reeling out petitions,
Focusing like the Widow (Huck's other guardian),
On heartened prayer, the learning of
But not even the gentle fish lures of patience
And boundless joy seem to ripple my faithless way;
too, become the orphan in the dying of trust.
No longer a fisher of persons in the doubtful churning,
Of the endless
surging views of oceans seven
The world round, I struggle between faith
And reason, lost in cruel imbalance
the extremes — nihilistic negation
And fishy delusion — doubting all to hell's end.
Still rises the
good news of caring medicine:
Briefly free of false hooks, we gave our dear Hope,
So dead to minded school,
the late prescription
And she was upward raised, recovering early
A zest for learning — early for her, way late
for me —
Except to say the real hook of it all is that
True knowing is not a gulping of the barbs of pious
Nor being gilled or gulled into the dying of truth,
But yearning and learning — like Descartes
— finding in humble, reasoned
Faith the poetry and prose of a spiritual rebirth,
A Godly way of reasoned becoming.