Tag Archives: Father

SONG OF MY FATHER’S SONG

SONG OF MY FATHER’S SONG

I am the end of a long line
and the music plays in my head
feeling the need to sing the songs
of the silent living and the silent dead

To somehow feel and heal each one
right down to my grandfather’s son

To sing the songs of a slow gray man
who runs and runs till out of breath
chased yet by the swift dark wolves
of a long ago young mother’s death

With all the tender sores and songs
and all the stories he needed to tell
cauterized by a hard world’s fires
and the scabs of a private hell

And the part of him that I can’t touch
is the part of me that I can’t touch
the part of me I need so much

God help me to reach that note

God help me to clear my throat

WORTH OF A MAN

WORTH OF A MAN

In my father’s mind
the worth of any man
was tied hand and foot to his work

The day he retired
to leave his ranch and his work
he was felled by a massive stroke

Every time I make enough money to quit
I hurry to lose it as fast as I can

And go right back to work to make it again
remembering what I learned from this man

THE TWINKLE

THE TWINKLE
(Eulogy at Father’s funeral)

There is a thing about light
no matter where it starts it never stops
even if it takes a million years
to get from the twinkling stars to here

There was a twinkle in the eyes of this man
A twinkle of innocent mischief and inner joy
greeting every man and woman
every girl and boy

When you saw it you knew that he liked you
and never doubted that you’d like him too

AND HE WAS RIGHT

Because there is a thing about light

A million years from now
and no one knows how far
they will see it on some star

DANCES WITH HORSES

DANCES WITH HORSES

And what is the poem of Rusty
who slips at full gallop and picks up all
four feet and sets them down sure on the next
dry spot

Of Lady still so afraid of wire she can buck
fourteen hours tired
if a four inch chunk should strike a hoof

And the dance of the wild mare in the corral
who kicks and one foot goes by on each side of
your head

And of the colt separated from mother’s flank
by a gunny sack in the face and a quick gate,
who turns a tight arc and comes back at you, and
you see it in the eyes and duck and he sails over
taking out the top rail

And you hear that your father gave you the first
compliment you’ve
ever heard of by turning to the man beside him
and saying

“The damned fool will get himself killed someday”

FIRST ART PROJECT

FIRST ART PROJECT

It took a long time to pound
a whole keg of brand
new spikes
into the hard ranch yard

A silvery path
paved with shining heads
danced bright in the prairie sun

I stood back young
and proud, and knew
that it was beautiful and good

My father thought he had to teach

There was no room for art
in a hard yard
in a hard world

It was a long time before I tried again