Thursday, May 23, 2013

"Birthright" Discussion

It's fine to talk about what you think of the piece, but we'd like to focus on what the piece makes you think about. Some questions to start:

The poem describes specific traits the baby has inherited from family members and concludes with an image of divinity. How does family history relate to our vision of divine nature and eternal progression?

If you had to evoke a member with a single image, what would you choose?

What has struck you as divine in another person?


  1. My dad often says he expects his children, grandchildren, etc. to be better and do better than the he did. This is his vision of eternal progression, at least as it plays out on earth. Because of this philosophy, I have never understood parents who seem to be in constant competition with their own children. They are getting it backwards!

    If I had to evoke my mother with a single image, it would be her hands. They are gnarled with arthritis, but she continues to do the things that put them in that state: sew for other people, cook for other people, play the piano for other people, clean up after other people. Attending to the physical needs of those around her is one of her defining characteristics.

    I'd choose the same for my dad. As a dentist, he always kept them spotlessly clean and well-manicured. (Well, he washed up after the dirty work, anyway.) His cleans hands are an apt representation of his pure heart and the scrupulous way he attends to the most important things in his life: God, family, church, and work.

    I suppose choosing hands to represent a whole person is not particularly original, but there you go!

  2. My grandfather=definitely shoulders and backbone. Or maybe his sarcastic grin. I think that seeing traits in a new baby that belong to those we love not only imbues love forthe nee person, but also reminds us that we are all created in our Father's image.

  3. Beautimous, Emily. Thanks for sharing it with us.

    This is especially poignant for me as I see my parents age and my children mature. It's happening going and coming for me at the moment. There are echos in amongst it all that bind us generationally but that also suggest what Merrijane gets at above: if we're really doing our jobs, our kids ought to outstrip us in the things that matter.

  4. Personally I was struck most by the interplay of the piece with the biography. I too "saw" my children through the difficult years of infertility. They were real to me before they ever were conceived in the biological format.

    Similarly, sitting next to the oldest child of my nearest sister who passed away many years ago, I was surprised to see my sister's hands and, even more surprisingly, her taste in shoes. She is there in her child, even though she wasn't there to raise her. k.



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