What can a man say to his first born? ''Hello,'' is a start, ''I love you,'' is better, but the sensible is often difficult. Some try to fill in the gaps with description. Ian, your eyelashes were as clear as a spider's thread. Your eyes were a deep blue. The sensible is often difficult. You have your mother's thin fingers, but soon your hands will be the gestures of your mind. Some try to fill in the gaps with narrative. Observations are acquisitions. A nurse said your ears were like roses. To say the sensible is difficult. The leaves on the oak trees were golden. I look at your eyelashes and I am afraid. Some try to fill in the gaps with conversation. On countless walks in countless woods I have brushed aside other strong, thin filaments. The sensible is difficult; the gaps define our shapes. Remember this, I love you and I said, ''Welcome.''

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