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In Honor to our Fathers

Posted 02-22-2013 at 09:21 PM by wiscsober
Updated 02-24-2013 at 12:59 PM by wiscsober (grammar, typos)
Tags amends , death , fathers , life , sons

My father used to play with my brother and me in the yard.
Mother would come out and say, "You're tearing up the grass";
"We're not raising grass," Dad would reply. "We're raising boys."

-- Harmon Killebrew

After making amends to my deceased father I was brought even greater joy. The anger and resentment I falsely held was replaced with acceptance, love, and understanding. I was able to see how great of a man he was. What he wasn’t did not define him. He didn't get his 15 minutes of fame; never made national or world headlines; wasn’t a politician, inventor, movie actor, philanthropist. Simply, humbly, he was a hardworking, dedicated, loyal family man devoted to his wife. He provided a safe and loving home for five children. He died loving his family.

I pulled out a poem I had written shortly after his death. As with the majority of my writings it remained in a decades old stack of notebooks. The critic I was refused to finish it. Having worked through the steps, and became willing to address character defects, the self-serving, self-pitying, egotistical faultfinder no longer defined me.

I have come a long way on this spiritual journey so different than one of drunkenness. As my father's body lies in peace -- my drunken addicted life rests.

In memoriam: Sons to Fathers

We are your sons and our fingertips trace
the letters and dates that are big as thumb nails
and fish scales and curved like fins and innards.
The brown river flows north and crows
blacker than shadows roost in branches
of gray muscled oaks high above the grass covered
wounds which heal below a finger length of snow.
We knuckle under the wind and whisper
“Shhhhh father, you’ve moved
from gloaming to dark silence.”

We are your sons and our fingertips trace
the outlined frosted letters deep as paths
of grubs and squirmy worm designs in mud.
House sparrows chase raiding starlings,
and dead chicks and broken eggs lay
on the ground. Deer stamp and snort
alongside the curbing. We rub our temples
in prayer and meditation, and whisper
“Quiet father lie still.”

We remember shaving cream and aftershave
stinging our soft grade school cheeks;
wearing tee-shirts down below our knees;
stealing coins from work trousers after
you laid down for an afternoon nap.

Rest father rest, your daughters are pregnant
and our mothers' white sheets billow from clotheslines.
We kneel where grass heals and whisper
your name polished high on red granite stones.

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