A Ferryman’s Daughter


EVERYDAY WISDOM | A poem written to my father for his 70th birthday. My father is not a spiritual man, but he lives wisely. He knows how to let go, how to laugh, how to love.

I was in the Amazon jungle, searching for a question to which I could search for an answer. One day there was suddenly this word: ferryman. And the simplicity of it had me laughing! Seeing the ferryman in my father, and seeing him in me, helped me know who I am, where I come from, what I have, and that the struggle is in resisting, not in being who I already am.

The quiet ferryman Vasudeva is a character representing Krishna in Hermann Hesse’s classic novel Siddhartha, written in 1922. 


My father is the ferryman
By Hermann Hesse’s hand
My mother is the dancing light
That makes his world go round

He didn’t have to seek and search
To know the truth of life
And anchored in his endless love
She’s free to dance, his wife

He’s human too, my ferryman
Of course he makes mistakes
But shrugs and says we loose sometimes
We win sometimes, and takes

His precious wife into his arms
And both their bodies let
A laughter out, yes life is good
No second he’d regret

I’m daughter of a ferryman
And daughter of pure light
I’m a mixture of two ends that met
In something true and right

Creating me, a ferry light,
Who’s long asked life to say
What really IS a ferry light?
How does it shine the way?

How can it dance and also help
Those needing crossing-light
When darkness swallows every sight
Of shore on other side?

Not trusting what I know inside
Not trusting what is me
Cus’ if I’m born a ferry light
That’s exactly what I’ll be!

There’s nothing there I need to learn
There’s nothing life can say
But “dance and shine and trust yourself
And you will lead the way!”

I’m grateful for my ferryman
I’m grateful for my light
I’m daughter of both peace and joy
And that I cannot fight

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