Monday, November 12, 2012

November 4, 2007 ~ A Poem for My Father

Originally posted on November 4, 2007.
Today is the 90th anniversary of my father's birth. I'm guessing that this photo was taken somewhere around 1920. After a 4+-year battle with emphysema and asthma, he died in 2000 at the age of 82. The night before he died, I wrote this poem about him. Those of you who've been with me for a long time may have seen it before. Four Years and Change They 'gave' you three months; With characteristic stubbornness, You held out-- First hours, then days, then weeks at a time... until three months was a memory, and there you were, quietly, stoically, celebrating your 50th anniversary with the woman who so long ago devoted her life to your happiness. On your 50-foot oxygen 'leash,' you walked outside to sit in the sun, providing handfuls of birdseed for the cardinals, the doves, especially that one who came close and ate from your hand. Before the cataracts made your sight grow so very dim, you gazed out to the greenery of the garden where you could no longer offer guided tours, pointing out each new plant, each new flower, each new vegetable-- the garden that once was your monumental task your refuge our daily bread Didn't, couldn't, go much further-- Entrusting your breath to the portable tank only long enough to see George the Barber, who now pays house calls. You move about the best you can. Once strong and sure, now you shuffle with baby steps through your little corner of a world becoming ever quieter ever dimmer Coughs wrack your body Every breath an effort. No more the easy laughter with buddies on the riverbank bringing home fish for the family, extras for Sam the Cat. No more the glistening of sweat after a hard day's labor followed by another day's work in the garden. No more bragging to family and friends about the best cook in the world being your personal chef... nothing tastes good any more. No more. Three months parlayed into four years and change... No more. Muddy 3/20/00

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