Thursday, 11 February 2016 13:38

October Poems 2015

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As a handsome youth with dark hair he’s not

Remarkable but the photo has a

Story — he’s just come to America

From Australia and I wonder what


The photo does to those of us who knew

Him as my father appears very much

Like me or my brother at that age and

He’s full of youthful open confidence


As we know the story of his life of

His family his ministry the journal

He founded — we know the bitterness the

Courage and the triumphs no one else could


Comprehend and each of us remembers

Differently as each knew him separately.


It’s a small circle

of people capable of

comprehending the

photo’s reverberating

depth as only we knew him.




Hazel was his sister’s name and dad said

She had a hard life as her husband was

A brute character and my dad would gaze

At the photo of her youthful smile and


Her profusion of hair and I can see

A touch of family resemblance as

The enthusiastic innocence and

Openness communicates happiness


But you can’t tell by seeing the photo’s

Eight decades old and between them was a

Steamer that traversed the Pacific from

Australia to America when such


A trip seemed irrevocable as dad

Left behind his family and homeland.


In youthful photos

of my vanished family

of a faded world —

I can sense optimism

And eager exploration.




So I was in the square in Paris just

Before Notre-Dame Cathedral after

A year of schooling at Oxford having

Scored well with the teachers and being a


Young man with prospects for success who was

Free of responsibilities and yet

I couldn’t be happy — now here you are

Accomplished graduated prepared to


Be an engineer a young man with no

Obstacles except that you’re unhappy —

Is the world to come so threatening so

Imponderable it’s hard to begin


Or is misery merely a habit

You must overcome? You will find a way.



I’m not able to give you

exact guidance as

in matters of the spirit

we each have our own puzzles.




As if I were trying to sneak a look

At his cards to see what he’s doing he

Holds back and won’t communicate how he’s

Considering his options what he wants


To do what he thinks he’s capable of

Becoming — it’s time that he makes his way

That he determines a direction and

I know he doesn’t have to get it right


There’s wide latitude — it’s not a lifetime

He’s planning just the first few steps and then

He may reconsider readjust and

Change course but how can he know what’s best for


Him without testing his abilities

And discovering how the world responds?


Because he’s done it

because he’s reconnoitered


a father may guide his son —

but the son may be stubborn.




Being in a place where a person was

Makes the separation more poignant and

Who am I to complain as didn’t I

Get on a bus to Galveston Texas


And take a plane to Osaka Japan

And didn’t my parents wave goodbye and

And didn’t they watch me depart to an

Uncertain fate thousands of miles gone


And haven’t I been wondering when you

Would take a worthy direction but now

I realize emotions can become

Mixed as your courage is inspiring


As you’re behaving just as I did but

Part of me I’ve found wants to keep you near.


How can I complain

of my son’s emulation

as Joshua has

decided to go northward

up to Juno Alaska?




You were resisting in Pioneer Park

Pouting and refusing to walk on a

Summer afternoon as resolute as

A toddler with a bulging tummy


Could be bereft of her container of

Water that I forgot so I scooped you

Up and we proceeded home — today you’re in

Graduating robes at Moore College of


Art and Design in Philadelphia

Which is far from home with a degree that’s

A gamble the schooling will be useful

As we have encouraged you to become


As creative as possible because

Your talent deserves opportunity.


The conveyance of

emotional subtlety

comes naturally

in faces you create so

experience carefully.


Read 4397 times Last modified on Thursday, 02 November 2017 15:50
Barry MacDonald

Editor & Publisher of the St. Croix Review.
More in this category: « In Defense of the American Family
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