Raising a child with autism can be emotionally draining on a parent, particularly when there is a communication delay involved. My son is four years old and almost never uses words practically. He has only used a handful of words in his lifetime and has never spoken in a complete sentence. He has never said "I love you" to me or his mother, never sings his favorite songs and never speaks of what he experiences in his own little world.
Despite the difficulty inherent in raising a child with autism I am convinced that any parent can find the love in his or her heart required to do such a task. Despite the language barriers a parent will also know that his or her love is not being cast into a vacuum but, rather, that love is returned and multiplied a hundred fold. My poem is a testimony of this truth.
I have chosen the traditional format of a Petrarchan Sonnet for this poem. A Petrarchan Sonnet has a rhyme scheme of (usually) abbaabba cdecde. The first eight lines present a problem or argument and the final six the resolution. Sonnets are often avoided by poets who may not find the strict structure to their liking. I hope, after your reading of my sonnet, you are in agreement with me that the rigid format of "My Autistic Son" in no way minimizes the impact of the message.
My Autistic Son
|by Jim Bouder|
Autistic shackles hold your little tongue
From telling me the punch line of the joke
That caused your fits of laughter to provoke
Excited happy tears. You've never sung
Your fav'rite Barney song and, when you clung
To me that winter night when you awoke
To bitter, fearful sobs, you never spoke
A word of what tormented one so young.
Although autistic shackles bind his speech,
His love is blazoned on his beaming smile.
Although I missed the punch line of that jest,
I laughed myself to happy tears. And each
Dark night when he awakes and fears defile
His sleep, in Daddy's arms he finds his rest.