A Country Autumn – 8

Oh, my child,
We played out on these hills
When you were just girl, and then
The season changed, and you were grown:
The life you wanted needing time
And space and countless years of work
For you to reach.

I walk this path,
And hear two younger voices, mine
And tiny yours; but know that all that grows
Is for a season only, then transforms:
In your case into all
I could have hoped.

There is, there can be
No love like
The love I have for you,
A father for his daughter:
Strong as the earth
Through the glories of changing seasons;
Constant as time,
Ever-present even though you be unaware.

Oh, my child-adult,
We played out on these hills
When you were just a girl, and I
Was closer to the start than finish line,
But you are still my joy,

And I could not be prouder

Than I am

A Country Autumn – 5

Crops, like children, do not grow
The same from year to year;
We do our best, but even so,
We watch each one in fear

For all those things that may go wrong:
From slower growth, or faster —
The fear that which we’ve loved so long
Will fall upon disaster —

Yet both are raised because of love:
Of mind, and heart, and soul —
With help that’s often sought above
For all we can’t

Control

The Winter Stars Came Out That Night

The winter stars came out that night
To smile on us, and sing —
We watched our breath in clouds like smoke,
Our faces coloring —

We sang our carols in the snow,
And glided towards the dawn,
December in our hearts, we watched
Until the stars were gone.

We went back with our families,
Each one to different lives;
That village now, a different place.
But this one thing survives —

A memory like yesterday,
And I can guarantee it:
The winter stars came out that night
And we were there

To see it

The Quilt of Human Memory

I still remember my grandmother,
Although I saw her, maybe seven times,
Past the age of two.

And maybe she remembered hers,
Or a grandfather,
And so on back.

The quilt of human memory
Is connected, but not
Linear: we remember those
Who remember those others
Who remember those still others.

It has been said
That you die a second time,
The day the last person who remembered you dies.
But I don’t think that’s right,
Because someone still remembers
That person.

We’re connected, but different:
Separated in time, by other connections,
Not directly,
But still —
It’s a beautiful
Crazy
Type

Of connection

hospice.

i only know what i have known:
the day comes there is no avail.
the great translation’s yet to be,
the moorings disconnected —

  i was her son before all other things,
  a child of music, poetry, and teeth;
  the voice so shaky now in my head sings,
  the lyrics and the verses, her bequeath —

i see the spirit’s mostly flown.
disease can make a home a jail,
and simple things a misery,
until the path’s elected

  to turn herself into a summer flower,
  to live within the heat, and know the price:
  a hospice choice, the last one of her power,
  before the coming of the dark

  and ice

If love could make a place for you to fall…

If love could make a place for you to fall,
A place where life would never come undone,
I would pay any price, I’d risk it all,
To try to shield you from yourself, my son
 
There is no heartbreak I could undergo
I would not take, if I could help you see;
But no amount of love has worked so far,
No guidance kept you from your misery
 
Because I’ve seen your joy in minutes past,
Because I know the good that’s in your heart;
Because I’ve also seen the opposite —
The mental conflict tearing you apart
 
If love could make a place for you to fall,
Where I knew you’d be up again, somehow,
I spend my every waking hour at this –
My son, my son, to help you
Help you
Now

Love’s Last Labor

He worked until the day he passed.
A man his children barely knew;
His son and daughter came back home
To do whatever they could do

And out there where he’d left it last:
The old truck that he’d always had –
They sat and watched the sun go down
And traded stories of their dad

What do you say about someone
For whom to speak was rare?
Who never showed his tenderness
Or gave a sign he cared?

But in the glove compartment, there –
Three pics of long duration:
Of their two parents’ wedding day
And their, each, graduation

He’d carried with him all these years
Since they had moved away:
They realized he was proud of them
He just could never say

The sun goes down in silence as
The darkening night forbids —
But love’s last labor knows the truth:
Their father
Loved
His kids