Bearhug

Griffin calls to come and kiss him goodnight
I yell ok. Finish something I'm doing,
then something else, walk slowly round
the corner to my son's room.
He is standing arms outstretched
waiting for a bearhug. Grinning.

Why do I give my emotion an animal's name,
give it that dark squeeze of death?
This is the hug which collects
all his small bones and his warm neck against me.
The thin tough body under the pyjamas
locks to me like a magnet of blood.

How long was he standing there
like that, before I came?

by Michael Ondaatje

Comments (3)

A bear hug demanded from the son who keeps it waiting for his turn and he unmindful of all that absorbed in doing some work, but finally comes to even though unprepared for the hug to give. To give a hug is not so easy. Emotions should be for that. It require hearts, hearts.
A touching poem, one that is very endearing when you think of how a father's parental emotions is not a theme too common...also the fact that Griffin being the one to call his father shows how the son's filial attachement is a calling to paternal kindlings in the poet.It is the son who makes this voice of the poem come into being. My BA dissertation was a study of Michael Ondaatje's lyricism in novels.The study looked at 'Coming Through Slaughter' and 'The English Patient'. It was titled 'Stroking Lyrical Bodies': A textual exploration foe elements of lyricism in the novels Coming Through Slaughter and The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje. 'Divisadero' was also an absolute treat, Ondaatje reaches a new angle of lyrical expression and crafts a marvelous emotional landscape, and its also a good recovery from 'Anil's Ghost.' -Dilshan Boange
Such a sweet poem, M