28 June 2007

My Grandfather Poem

Every poet writes a grandfather poem.

This is mine.

When you were orphaned,

Did you feel like the seed

You so often dropped in the ground

As a farm child?

Did you cry at night motherless

In an unlit room?

(Sometimes I do.)

Were you angry

That you couldn’t go to school

Past the fourth grade because

You had to earn your keep?

(I often complained about schoolwork.)

When you were fourteen and you said,

“I can do anything a man can do,”

To a potential employer,

Did you believe it?

(Sometimes I feel like I try to be

More than I am.)

When did you realize the girl

You met when she was twelve

Was the lovely woman you married

When she was sixteen?

(She still loves you

Even though you’re gone.)

How did you build a house,

A perfectly symmetrical

Piece of modernist artwork,

Without any architectural training?

(You never believed in no.)

Was it frightening to have to feed a family

In the Depression?

(I can't even save on my middle class salary.)

Were you ever scared while guarding

Prisoners for the County’s road crew?

(I get scared of regular people.)

What happened between you and my father?

Why were you so patient with

Me as a young boy of ten when I

“Helped” you with your carpentry?

(I still carry your carpentry tape in my bag.)

When your hands began to shake,

Did you know you were getting sick?

(Some say the Parkinson’s runs in families.)

And most of all,

Why, when reading was such a struggle for you,

Did you read every word of my first story,

Following every word with a shaky finger?

(I think I may already know.)


Stella said...

This poem made me cry. You have been blessed with such a special God-given gift of writing. Never stop writing it's what makes you - you! I love you. - Sarah Sally

Katie B said...

I love this poem.
I miss peeps.

carolineb said...

i love this one.

sam said...

hi this poem is really wonderful.
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