I discovered this poem by William Stafford a few years before becoming a father. I remember it striking a chord in me then. I read the poem again after becoming a father…and by the last line I was weeping…
With Kit, Age 7 at the Beach
By William Stafford
We would climb the highest dune,
from there to gaze and come down:
the ocean was performing;
we contributed our climb.
Waves leapfrogged and came
straight out of the storm.
What should our gaze mean?
Kit waited for me to decide.
Standing on such a hill,
what would you tell your child?
That was an absolute vista.
Those waves raced far, and cold.
‘How far could you swim, Daddy,
in such a storm?’
‘As far as was needed,’ I said,
and as I talked, I swam.