My wife Louise & Granddaughter Claire...2000
She was just a little girl back when, and I too was quite young.
They don't expect a miracle,
to fill every whim and need.
All they wish is to share your love,
living life with a spirit freed.
Take them to a spring-fed stream,
where the water is cold and clear.
Make sure they witness its beauty rare,
its origins so clear.
Watch them marvel in a forested realm,
to dream of a hidden place.
Where water cascades from a vaulted bluff,
to mist a tender face.
Explain to them, what with age, you know.
Explain to them how you feel.
Let them understand the taste of love,
explain to them it's real.
Show them the simple things in life,
that too few of us ever share.
Tell them daily that they are special,
tell them how much you care.
Make a big deal when they try to please,
But correct them when they're wrong.
Don't be too proud to play a silly game,
or hum to a juvenile song.
You cannot pretend that you're too old,
To blow seeds from a milkweed's crown.
Keep a smile on their face and a tune in their heart,
By your actions, don't let them down.
Take them places they've never been before,
and show them the treasures there.
Let them walk with you where you've walked before,
Wear the blossom they gave in your hair.
And always remember,
some day they'll be you,
Some day they'll raise children-
your days will be through.
But find peace in the fact,
that they carry your love,
They carry your wisdom,
and they're watched from above.
Some day when they take their own children,
on a walk through a quiet wood.
They'll think of you often and remember their Family,
Who gave them all that they could.
And wrap myself in Gramma's arms, her reading a nursery rhyme.
I wonder what the Soldier thought, a boy once young at heart,
Never knowing the pain of War, long before its start.
I wonder if Gramma still braids her hair, It's silky whiteness flow.
The comfort there , me on her lap, her reading glasses low.
I listened so intently then, to those tales she spun for me,
Why can't I go back and feel that love, that was taken away from me.
I wonder too of all the boys, that cry alone at night,
Long before their Gramma died, they were taken in a fire-fight.
I wonder if all Grammas were as sweet and kind as mine,
And did little boys go off to War, that never heard her rhyme.
Leaning back in loving arms to hear that simple line,
When Grammas whispered words of love,
And told them they'd be fine.
With golden hair and slim of build, he turns and looks at me.
He's grown too fast I suddenly knew, as he asks me for the keys.
Could he drive the car, just on our street, or around the block..if you please!
Do I know him? Was I once there? What is this feeling, that haunts my stare?
I turn away to leave the room, the mirror turns back anew.
And a curly-haired lad of thirteen or so, asks, "Dad, oh Dad, is that you?"
Come out to the lake and watch my cast. My timing is right , don't you think?
What length of leader? What size tippet? What makes a wet-fly sink?
What patterns are better? What colors are best, and how do you grease a line?
Watch my back cast. What do you think, do you think I'm doing fine?
Where has time gone, and what have I done? And what I have done..was it wrong?
If it was right ..will he remember, even after I am gone?
A toe-headed kid stands with a mitt, poised on a mound in the sun.
If I strike this one out..and then one more..we'll still win this game by a run!
He checks the lead runner and fires a strike, looking for approval from me.
So raising my fist, I yell "Way to go!", as the umpire hollers, "Strike Three!"
And when it is over, he squeezes my hand, his dirt stained face turns to smile.
"I knew we could do it! We won by a run! that guy was out by a mile!"
The mirror turns back, the reflection I see.
Was that him, or was it me?
Do I know him? Was I once there? What is this feeling, that haunts my stare?
"Dad, come here and see my toy! It has movable arms!", shouts a little boy.
How do you work this? What makes it walk? Do you think maybe, that this thing can talk?
Tell me a story, kiss me goodnight. Did the Three Pigs get eaten,? in a big wolf-pig fight?
That soap tasted awful!, Can I get a new toy? I promise you Daddy, I'll be a good boy!
Where has time gone, and where will it end?
Will there be mirrors, around every bend?
Did I know them? Was I once there?
What is this feeling, that haunts my stare?
Sheltering weathered cabins beneath, from icy winds that try.
To chill the marrow of the bone, and freeze the vaporous air.
That swirls from the lips of the mountain man, who rules the forest there.
Early he rises to stoke his fire, boiling a cup of grounds.
Downs his breakfast..straps on his skies, and heads for his morning rounds.
Outside his door, his hawk-sharp eyes, catch the flick of a weasels tail,
And the prints of a deer mouse, etched in the snow, at the end of a blood-stained trail.
A Chick-a-dee sings from it's perch on a limb, in hopes for a handout today.
And the doe by the pond, turns up her head, training her ears his way.
Trudging along on his way to the lake, the dazzle of diamonds he sees,
In the form of snowflakes, they gather their weight, bending the boughs of the trees.
He knows he's here to stay for awhile, as he sucks in the fresh mountain air.
So striding along, he pauses to watch..the sunrise..first dim light, then glare.
Checking the cabins and finding them sound, he shouts a good morning to all.
And answers a Loon from the mist of the lake, and a Canada left from the fall.
Whistling now he picks up his pace, to his cabin he now remembers.
The rising dough and browning crust, of bread baking over the embers.
There's chores to do there now he knows,
More wood to chop, before heavier snows.
Deep bites his axe..the wood chips fly, as he splits yet another dry tree.
And he crushes a beer can with a sinewy hand..as a camp jay watches from his knee.
The quickening light fades slowly first, then drops from sight or'e the hill.
His fire burns low in the wood burning stove,
The chill night of winter is still.
On one knee he prays at the side of his bed, for this day and so many others.
And I know by the sights and the sounds that he's heard,
That his feelings are also his brothers.
That you will remember in looking back, someday all grown you will be.
We took a long walk to the candy store, sometimes skipping along the way.
And you laughed at "Boppa" while jumping the puddles, I'll always remember the day.
With crooked lipstick and half painted nails, and a sparkle in your eye,
You made "Boppa" younger, your hearts full of life..
Remember these words and here's why.
Chase all of your dreams and never hold back, finding happiness will be the key.
Give all of yourselves in whatever you do, I'll be watching from somewhere to see.
For life is too short to hurt and to cry, and wish happiness might someday be true.
So go out and catch it, you'll know it as Love.
One time only it happens to you.
To talk with them in quiet times, and never be too far.
A Father needs to support the Dream, that grows inside their heart.
And provide for them the experience, a reality to start.
A Father has the duty to show, his Sons a reason why.
That Vietnam was a proud War once, in the eyes of those that cry.
With respect and honour..take the walk, that leads you past the name.
And hold that person in your heart, just you and them the same.
One stroke of Fate that ceased a life, caused anguish back at home.
And you are here now with your Sons.
Theirs left to be alone.
A Father stands at Dress Salute, in homage he will say.
My Sons will always carry the Gift,
You gave up on that Day!
The treasure you once told me, I still remember, though when told I was quite small.
You said, then as now, that "God is Love", and It's taken me all this time,
To understand the wisdom spoken, to unravel that great rhyme.
But unraveling was easy, understanding did not come from books.
It came from a close-knit family, and trips to quiet brooks.
But most of all it came from a Mother, whose loving arms hold close, but never bind.
And from a father, through whose busy life, has always found the time.
For Love is this family's nucleous, it encompasses us all.
And loved ones whom we'd thought we'd lost, are never lost, after all.
Each family member feels the same. Each brother, sister, daughter, son.
From Gram and Pa, and before, this feeling has been one.
No Rhyme,---No Mystery,--No secret here-in lies.
For Love with-in this family unit,
Answers all the Whys.
But memories of so very small, will surely always last.
You remember times when they needed you, to hold them close and say.
Mommy loves you...she always will..., it will always be that way.
At other times they tried your patience, and made you want to cry.
For that is part of raising boys, they always seem to try.
But one thing that is always true, they grow quickly into Men.
And return your love..ten-fold times.., when You need that closeness then.
So cherish the hearts that leave you now, to fish upon the stream.
And have Peace in the fact that they'll return,
To fulfill your every Dream.
And late at night as you tuck them in, remember what I say,
This Prophecy fulfills itself.
It was meant to be that way.
And over the years they increase their bond, with layers and layers of strands.
Combining their strength in multitudes
Of laughter, love and joy, they entwine themselves with memories,
From a man with the heart of a boy.
Memories and wisdom from a staunch Pioneer, still a lady in all her grace.
She many times helped me through difficult times, or just wiped the tear from my face.
Her wisdom has been precious, her love never-ending, and the strands continue to grow.
As threads from Great-Grandchildren spring from their hearts, entwining along as they go.
It cannot be broken, this invisible string, it strengthens each day after another.
And the Love continues to grow steadily,
For this lady we know as Grandmother.
Gives strength to me in difficult times,
Makes sure I will not fall.
I challenged her once, many years ago,
To rise above the rest.
Though difficult then to inflict such pain,
I just tried to do my best.
With words, I meant no harm to her, I just want her to know today.
There's been many a Blessed Thanksgiving Day,
I know it's here to stay.
She's given me hope when I was down, shown a light, when there was none there.
And entrusted a daughter to me alone,
To shelter, protect, and to care.
So with this poem, I hope to convey,
Simple words that can make her smile.
And if she needs me, I'm always there,
To help if only awhile.
Kiss your loved ones in your dreams, the memories they'll keep.
There is no battle left to fight, no task you need to do.
Please blow the flame from one last candle,
That's all I'll ask of you.
You've left a legacy of love, in tiny smiles I see.
They have your heart and laughing ways, that's what was meant to be.
On baseball fields they'll play 'till dark, run giggling in fields of flowers.
In bedside prayers they'll think of you,
And talk with you for hours.
On a field of green I'll walk and hear,
The unmistakable sound, of wind that whispers in the trees,
And know that you're around.
We don't need granite to mark some end, what should and should not be.
We'll place your name upon your flag,
For all who care to see.
So lay back now and fight no more, let peace close weary eyes.
And blow the flame from one last candle,
We'll answer all your whys.