Watching the Children Play

children on playground

We struck up conversation easily —
custodians with no apparent lack
of common ground. (It seems he has a knack
for working on transmissions.) Suddenly
his focus shifted momentarily.
Three names rang out, three children answered back.
His explanation made my jaw go slack:
“I need to hear their voices — I can’t see.”

He never saw my estimation rise
for one so fit, with miles and years to span,
whose handicap won’t bump him from the race.
I swallowed hard, then slowly raised my eyes —
two gluttons drinking in the scene — to scan
the playground, seeking out my grandson’s face.

 

cc-by-nc-nd  Mary Boren, 2001

Photo Source

My Hero

my-hero

for Hal Upchurch, 1918-2008

Be they wise men or foolish, tycoons, dukes, or earls,
paupers or preachers or thieves,
most fathers are worshipped by their little girls,
and in childhood, each daughter believes
that the man she looks up to can do nothing wrong.
She relies on what children should know:
that Daddies are patient and kind, brave and strong …
But, alas, it is not always so.

All too often a little girl’s dreams turn to dust
and her innocent faith starts to crumble
when he’s proven unworthy of absolute trust
and she sees her dad falter and stumble.
But though legions of heroes have fallen, and lined
the long pathway in lonely rejection,
in all of my actions I hope you will find
assurance that you’re the exception.

If you lay down and quit you would not be denied
a reprieve for a much-deserved rest.
I would bring you a pillow and sit by your side,
even then I would not love you less.
But I know you’ll go on and continue the race
’til your life has completed its course,
upholding the standard of courage and grace,
firmly mounted upon your white horse.

You’re a pillar of strength for your children and wife —
God forbid we should take you for granted.
I have known I was loved every day of my life;
In my heart lies the truth that you planted.
Your unselfishness springs from a bottomless well
for the family you’ve nurtured and fed
and, if we couldn’t speak, countless others could tell
how they’ve warmed in the light that you shed.

When reviewing the blessings I’m thankful are mine,
as so often I’m privileged to do,
from the group photograph, among faces that shine
in the foreground’s the image of you.
For your health and contentment I offer a prayer
with my love and a hope that is fervent,
until God calls you home and He welcomes you there
with a loving, “Well done, faithful servant.”

———

cc-by-nc-nd  Mary Boren, 1991

The Way My Daddy Said My Name

threesome

The way my daddy said my name
with an eloquent timbre roll
and eyes reflecting love that came
from the depths of his gentle soul
is lodged forever in my cache
of ineffable memories
that turn the years to golden ash
and deliver me to my knees.

I’ll never hear another sound
that will swaddle me in protection
where peace and warmth and light abound
in a cradle of sweet inflection
until it’s time to fold my tent
for a ride to a distant shore.
I’ll follow where my daddy went
and he’ll murmur my name once more.

———

cc-by-nc-nd  Mary Boren, 2010