A Parent’s Yearning

We long to show our children
A better life ahead,
And so we tell them fairy tales
Before they go to bed

But just like shadows on the wall
Get hidden by the night,
We sometimes lose the picture when
We cannot find the light

But we cannot despair for long:
The stars again unfurl,
When we will spin more stories of
A better kind

Of world

But love was the best we had…

They tried to make things beautiful, 
Most years, they'd change a room -- 
They hung lights and placed furniture 
To stem the backyard gloom 

And we were rich, as some would reckon, 
Three kids, mom, and dad: 
We owned a house, we owned some things, 
But love was the best we had.

My father fought in Vietnam, 
My mom was raised in sorrow; 
We didn't owe a lot, my folks 
Were rather loth to borrow -- 

And things were calm, as some would see it, 
Yet we had seen loss: 
And though they made things beautiful, 
They felt it worth the cost 

To sit outside and watch the lights, 
Together, with the birds, 
And tell us that they loved us, though 
That wasn't said 

In words

Little Understood

When I was just a kid, this was
The height of elegance;
My parents took their three kids here
And dined

And now I’m back in this old place
By dint of random chance:
It’s faded, slightly, but it’s still

I little understood, back then,
Just what it must have meant;
My parents did not throw money

We take what we are given
As a grant when we are young;
Just part of life, like food or air
Or ground

And parents never know, when they
Set out to give a gift,
Which of the many treasures they’ve

Will mean the most to kids, who tend
To take it all in stride;
But now, I finally understand
At last

A Covered Bridge

Now may I be a covered bridge to you
To lift you o’er the turbulence below;
With walls to help you some in blowing winds,
A roof to shield your head from bitter snow.

May I provide safe passage on your way
A respite from the frigid arctic blast:
A covered bridge along your winter’s way,
That you must leave
To journey on

At last

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
His kids