Have You Prayed?

When the wind
turns and asks, in my father’s voice,
Have you prayed?
I know three things. One:
I’m never finished answering to the dead.
Two: A man is four winds and three fires.
And the four winds are his father’s voice,
his mother’s voice . . .
Or maybe he’s seven winds and ten fires.

Absolutely powerful! I admire the courage of this poem. The speaker
trying to archive a list of what they know (or think they know) and providing a brief explanation, but revising oneself towards a more particular and inclusive truth. The father's voice as the wind is a graceful appearance, suggesting the wisdom of this world recycles. We reincarnate what we love. Thus the speaker reincarnates their father in the glory of the wind. -Zachary Tomaszewski, age 22

And the fires are seeing, hearing, touching,
dreaming, thinking . . .

. I wonder why the lists of three things are never completed, with only two things ever being described. -Laura Crouch, age 20

Or is he the breath of God?
When the wind turns traveler
and asks, in my father’s voice, Have you prayed?
I remember three things.
One: A father’s love
is milk and sugar,
two-thirds worry, two-thirds grief, and what’s left over
is trimmed and leavened to make the bread
the dead and the living share.

This makes death seem more comforting. -Daisy Hall, age 13

And patience? That’s to endure
the terrible leavening and kneading.
And wisdom? That’s my father’s face in sleep.
When the wind
asks, Have you prayed?
I know it’s only me
reminding myself
a flower is one station between
earth’s wish and earth’s rapture, and blood
was fire, salt, and breath long before
it quickened any wand or branch, any limb
that woke speaking. It’s just me
in the gowns of the wind,
or my father through me, asking,
Have you found your refuge yet?
asking, Are you happy?
Strange. A troubled father. A happy son.
The wind with a voice. And me talking to no one.

I find it incredibly intriguing that the poet can talk to so many different memories and images, yet is still able to step back and make the realization he does in the end. This poem reminds us of everything, the people, the experiences, the history, that makes up who we are. -Rian Bosse, age 22
Through the 3rd Eye was supported in its inception by the Grand Rapids Humanities Council and is currently made possible by continued volunteer effort and private support. Copyright 2013.