Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Thinking of Grandad Shafer as Father's Day approaches, the weather warms, and my older children's shorts reveal legs scabby from bug bites, poison ivy, scrapes, and falls.  I wrote this poem about 15 years ago and know I would write it differently, today, but--everytime I try to change it--I end up liking the changed version less than this, the original.


When I commune with his spirit, I remember a
July evening in my grandfather's kept yard --
My brother and I with slender backs
Hunched in anticipation, watching one
Another anxiously out of eye corners, and
Suddenly we are off, pushing and straining
Toward a distant tree, and we never know
Who might win -- he the lighter, or I the
Longer, and the grandfather claps and
Calls my brother's name, then mine, as a
Constant cheer, and I know he loves to see
Scabby brown legs pumping more than he
Loves his own life, so when I drink in his
Remembrance, it is of this easiness and
Warmth only, as every other thing is someone
Else's truth, and belongs not at all to my heart

My Brother & Me at Grandad's House

Grandad Shafer

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