Unsure, tottering footsteps as a child
by Vinay Benjamin
I had taken ere I could learn to walk upright
A bracelet, my wrist encircled sometimes
Helping me to take firm and balanced strides
Gurgles of delight, expressed my pleasure
Uttered in the gibberish of baby tones
The love filled face looking at time
Surprisingly spoke back, the same language!
Footsteps of my father would excite me so much
As I looked up at him from my squatting stance
And raise my arms upwards for him to put on
That bracelet, which he always brought along.
Sometimes he would kneel and help me up
To rise again on weak, trembling feet
Backwards he then moved in an awkward crawl
I thus learned to walk forward.
At times he would just sweep me off my feet
And swing me high with powerful arms
The world would spin around as a merry-go-round
My squeals of pleasure would echo in the room.
Not once did I doubt those sure and firm hands
Dexterous and gentle, adroitly strong
Often standing at his knee, I stroked the palms
Which possessed magical security and lavish warmth.
Now on my wrist I miss that bracelet
My childhood fears which had helped vanquish
That ornament of his index finger and thumb
Adornment for my wrist in unsure moments-
How blessed I am to those memories recall
And within closed eyes repaint that childhood decal
Doubtless have learned to walk erect and upright
Though being bare wristed, yet, stumble and fall ...
(Dedicated to my late father Mr. Emmanuel Benjamin)