Into Enchantment

How did our baby girl come to be FIFTEEN? Yet here she stands, strong, quick-witted, lovely, and nearly my height; by spring she’ll be taller than I.

For her birthday today I post a sketch made on a summertime bike ride. I see it now symbolically, as her gazing into her future: shining, expansive, full of promise. (I hope that doesn’t mean her parents are the two old stumps on the riverbank.) Here also is a tender poem by Mark Jarman, “Prayer for our Daughters.”


May they never be lonely at parties
Or wait for mail from people they haven’t written
Or still in middle age ask God for favors
Or forbid their children things they were never forbidden.

May hatred be like a habit they never developed
And can’t see the point of, like gambling or heavy drinking.
If they forget themselves, may it be in music
Or the kind of prayer that makes a garden of thinking.

May they enter the coming century
Like swans under a bridge into enchantment
And take with them enough of this century
To assure their grandchildren it really happened.

May they find a place to love, without nostalgia
For some place else that they can never go back to.
And may they find themselves, as we have found them,
Complete at each stage of their lives, each part they add to.

May they be themselves, long after we’ve stopped watching.
May they return from every kind of suffering
(Except the last, which doesn’t bear repeating)
And be themselves again, both blessed and blessing.

—Mark Jarman


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