Saturday, August 23, 2008


Today as Wife and I were cleaning up in the garage and basement -- which inevitably leads to finding forgotten relics of our 24 years of marriage and even before -- I kept thinking about how life really is a circle and after just a little while, things start to repeat themselves.

We cried buckets of tears just a few years ago when Older Son graduated from high school and went to college. Now he lives with us again and a lot of his stuff is filling the garage and basement. He will leave again at some point and we will see him and his stuff leave again (and, if God is merciful, the stuff won't come back).

He and his younger sister and brother will probably marry someday and make Wife and me grandparents. And they -- and we, God willing -- will start anew a process that will be just one more part of a bigger circle.

And all of these thoughts made me think of my favorite song by the incomparable Harry Chapin, probably best known for his song, "The Cat's In the Cradle." The song I thought of today, though, was one of his lesser known titled, simply, "Circles." Here are the words:

(CHORUS): All my life's a circle, Sunrise and sundown. Moon rolls thru the nighttime till the daybreak comes around. All my life's a circle, but I can't tell you why. Seasons spinning round again, the years keep rollin' by.

It seems like I've been here before, I can't remember when. But I have this funny feeling that we'll all be together again.
No straight lines make up my life and all my roads have bends. There's no clear-cut beginnings and so far no dead-ends.


I found you a thousand times, I guess you done the same. But then we lose each other, it's like a children's game.
As I find you here again, a thought runs through my mind. Our love is like a circle, let's go 'round one more time.


I would not begin to try to anazlyze what all this means but I love the line that says, "No clear lines make up my life, all my roads have bends." This just has to mean that, even though we might have a clear plan for what we think might happen in life, the unexpected is no doubt going to come along and throw us the inevitable curve. It has happened thousands of times to me already and will no doubt happen again and again.

And how we deal with the unexpected, I suppose, says a lot about who we are and the kind of stuff of which we are made. There may not be a great deal of depth in the words of this song, but I think a philosophy of "Let's go 'round one more time" would serve us all well as we move toward completion of the circle.


quid said...

Bob -

A thought provoking piece. And it reminded me of one of my favorites... by Joni Mitchell

Circle Game

Yesterday a child came out to wonder
Caught a dragonfly inside a jar
Fearful when the sky was full of thunder
And tearful at the falling of a star
Then the child moved ten times round the seasons
Skated over ten clear frozen streams
Words like, when you're older, must appease him
And promises of someday make his dreams
And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We're captive on the carousel of time
We can't return we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game


Bob said...

Thanks Quid. Joni Mitchell has some great stuff doesn't she.

Pam said...

Very thought provoking, indeed. Here's my own poem on the subject that I wrote some years ago. One of Kelly's favs.


Tomorrow my daughter turns nineteen.
A neophyte in the circles or women,
she advances with no pause or turn
to grasp for receding circles of childhood.
She did that last year.

This morning my brother announced
the birth of his second girl child.
I spoke to my six-year-old niece
who had wished for a sister.
One brother was more than enough.
Now she wants bunk beds, a toy box that locks.
She senses the price tags thumbtacked to wishes.

Over lunch, over the phone, my sister shared
the latest day smile and night tempest of her daughter,
three months old, the first child.
When my mother died my daughter was seven,
my sister only seventeen.
Her circles colliding, she turned around a woman
standing in a link where the child should have been.

Tonight I learn of a close friend’s miscarriage,
of her brush with death during delicate surgery.
Mother and child, their circles colliding,
were linked for a heartbeat
while passing through twilight sleep.

I look out at the moon
drawn by the sway
as the circle flows into and out of itself.

Copyright © 1989 Pam Patterson

Kelly said...

I've always loved that Harry Chapin song and found myself singing along as I read the lyrics.

I enjoyed your entry along with the accompanying comments.

Bob said...

I love that poem, Pam. What a gift you have! And obviously this has been a recurring theme for many gifted writers.