My affirmation deceitfully severed
forever robbed by selfishness
Left to tackle life alone
Tumbling in the wake of my dad's mess
He left when I was three
The crevasse has increased for 33 years
Traded his life with us
For another woman and a couple of beers
He wasn't there to pick me up
When I fell off of my bike
To teach me how to fish
Or enjoy a nature hike
Now I'm a father to my son
Hoping not to make the same mistake
Living day to day on this lake of life
My son in tow through my own wake
It's been nine years and we're going strong
Six more years with my son
That's more with him than I had with mine
My son I guard in a web I've spun
A web of love, discipline, and nurture
Full of "I love you's" and "see ya in the morning"
A kiss before school and one before bed
Lots of playing, talking, reading, and singing
My son doesn't know the pain I feel
To not know my dad in intimate ways
No hands to comfort me or words to heal
No dad in sight for 12,045 days.............................(and counting)
My son and I have a great relationship and for this I am thankful......
Being the shortest in my high school gym class
Attempts to play basketball brought no success
Broke my finger while trying to catch a pass
Leaping to take balls from tall girls? What a mess!
Always loved football, baseball and soccer too
But in basketball I succumbed to defeat
Just couldn’t get into it, that is true
Till Dad took me to see the Miami Heat
Startled he was, watching me jump up and down
Although my enthusiasm was contrived
The cheers of other fans my loud voice did drown
This was the last time I saw my Dad alive
I’m so thankful now that I went to that game
Dad was so grateful for these moments we shared
When I watch basketball now, it’s not the same
It was Dad and not the sport for which I cared
*Entry for Deb’s “Play Ball” contest
My father had been out of work for way too long.
At night, I often heard him and mom weep
Food was scant, but love was strong.
As was that hunger pain when I lay to sleep.
My little brother was too young to understand.
Still a babe in arms, he brought our only smiles.
I loved to play with him and hold his tiny hand.
It seemed to take away the hurt from life trials.
Then, one-day dad came home all excited.
He was talking so fast, grinning from ear to ear.
He said that our future was well fated.
That we were in for adventure was clear.
It was that new ocean liner, the Titanic.
Dad had been hired for the maiden voyage.
We were going along as his sidekick.
A family destined for American homage.
In just five days we boarded that ship.
Immigrating was a dream come true.
Accommodations would be a hardship.
But it was worth opportunities…new.
Dad worked as a scullion in the restaurant.
We were housed on the lower deck.
It was a very crowded lodgment.
We stayed together until the shipwreck.
Sirens were screeching people screaming.
We could not find dad anywhere.
Was he locked up as a cageling?
Could it be true; was he trapped down there?
Lifeboats were being lowered.
Mom held my brother, crying.
Dad must be somewhere cloistered.
We all feared a dreadful dying.
Someone put me in a lifeboat.
I reached for mom as it descended.
The Titanic was still afloat.
But my family separated.
The water was freezing.
I had forgotten my coat.
People crying, sniffling, and sneezing.
The lifeboat soon became an iceboat.
Within a few hours, death began.
Shivering, I crawled beneath two corpses.
A young girl destined to live without her clan.
Hidden from polar breezes.
That was the last time I saw my mother.
My mind holds the image clearly.
She, calling for dad, was cuddling brother.
Oh, how I loved my family dearly.
When rescuers finally arrived.
I was the only one alive in the lifeboat.
Beneath those bodies, I survived.
Then, I was wrapped in a warm coat.
I never did see America.
I was sent to an orphanage back home.
Life had dealt a great trauma.
Forever had sunken in the ocean's foam.
© April 9, 2012
Dane Ann Smith-Johnsen
Written for Poetry Soup Member Contest: My heart will go on and on.... Free Poetry
Sponsor Tracie ~*~ Indigo Dreamweaver
The last great snowflake standing
Little snowflakes fell swiftly
All around the house they fell
Eight male flakes_three little girls
House was lively in winter
As they all warmed by the fire
Boys' boistour tales, girls brush long hair
Then silence all rested heads
At four A.M. each morn_chores
Breakfast, lunch packed off to school
Walking that long mile was rule
School was important dad said
Soon the oldest snowflake wed
As life goes all followed him
Leaving the warm hearth behind
Some of them to produce twins
As life goes_death visited
All their humble doors sadness
Some had children die at birth
And some at very young age
What they saw in their lifetime
Changes that took place_cars_planes
Atom bomb that ended war
None their warm family disgraced
Death started visiting doors
One above middle went home first
Then slowly they all went home
But dad was the last snowflake
In all my years I've never seen
a face so weathered, yet seldom mean.
A semblance of a younger man
of whom I was the biggest fan.
A tired soul in eyes so hollow,
where he went this kid would follow.
Now he's resting more and moving less.
Is this what's left for God to bless?
Disease and age have beat him down,
yet no one ever sees him frown.
Mortal thoughts creep in as days go by.
What's it really like when we die?
But he won't dwell on that, with time so fleeting,
and his mind still sharp, despite the beating.
No he won't complain, why even bother?
My hero is this wonderful father.
There on that bench, here in this park
Was where I met God, alone in the dark.
He wasn’t adorned with riches galore.
He was a pauper man, not needing more.
He sat with me then, as I was so scared.
Just eight years old, and I got lost at the fair.
Separated from family, didn’t know where to go
I sat on the bench and waited there so.
Along came this man, scared of him I was
Until he sat next to me, I lost fear because
He spoke with a tone and offered a hand,
A sign to me that he would understand.
I told him my story. He said not to fear.
He’d stay with me until family was near.
I felt reassured and safe as could be.
His warm soft voice, it blanketed me.
Then in the distance, my dad had appeared.
He was right all along, I had nothing to fear.
My dad came up crying and hugged me so tight.
I then turned to that man to wish him goodnight.
He was there on the bench, I knew it for sure.
When I turned my head, he wasn’t there anymore.
I looked at my dad and told him of my tale
He smiled back at me and fell awfully pale.
He said, “Son when you need him, God does appear.
It’s not very strange that He was right here.
He serves and protects and loves us all much.
I believe He was here and gave you His touch.”
I was amazed at those words that my father said.
I couldn’t wait to go home and pray at my bed.
“Dear God up in the Heaven, I thank you, I do.
You sent me a savior and that savior was You.
You reached to this child, protected this night.
You offered him hope and provided light.
You took away his fear and made him feel warm.
Mostly, Dear God, you kept him from harm.
I’ve placed it in the most visible place
This old photo of black and white
Taken in 1943, the edges worn and frayed
Papa, Mama, Winnie, eyes bright
Though one by one they’ve all gone
They’ve left legacies of love, faith
And the sweet memories linger on
This beautiful photo transmits
When I look at their eyes
Warmth and gentleness residing
Dressed in their best, wearing subtle smiles
Beauty is captured, surviving!
Inspired by a beautiful photo of my parents and eldest sister...R.I.P.
I have fallen victim so many times
To nobody's fault except only mine.
I will ask for forgiveness and have faith,
Even though I feel like I am not saved.
He was the leader of the band till age ninety-three
Won the Senior Olympics five-mile race thirty times
In the Depression Dad worked to feed his family
And succeeded by pinching all nickels and dimes
Never raised his voice in anger; that was not Dad’s way
Gave money to educate Native Americans
But he didn’t once mention the cash he gave away
To animal rights causes and disabled veterans
At six feet, broad-shouldered, he handled Mom’s depression
And brightened children’s lives with his dramatic antics
Making up stories on the spot with imagination
He mastered the art of pulling laughs from his bag of tricks
Friends were jealous; none had a father as kind as mine
Imagine the pride I felt when he walked me down the aisle
A humble man who never complained, not even one whine
Though I’m alone now, Dad made my childhood worthwhile
He didn’t wear Superman’s cape or have a magic ring
Some might have mistaken him as an ordinary man
But Dad set the bar so high, to me he was a king
No boys could ever match him, the hero of our clan
*For Jeanette Fisher’s “Holding Out for a Hero” Contest
I am a daughter,
but I’m dad’s namesake.
For four generations,
Dad taught me much
“Tobble” meant fair to middlin’
he was tobble patient
teaching me to drive.
I cried at church -
didn’t know how to tell time.
He took me home right then
and showed me how.
Dad was the fixer.
“Pert near” meant almost;
he pert near built our house.
He let me do the roof shingles.
His strong hearty laugh
never met a stranger.
“Peak ed” meant sickly
and cancer left him peak ed.
Christmas 1989 he said goodbye.
He taught us to be prepared -
He was ready to go,
peaceful and sure.
Soon after Dad bought the little farm
He bought a Jersey milk cow
Said Old Blue's a real milk producer
I’ll hand milk since I know how
Then we had fresh raw milk all the time
Made butter by using a churn
Sold all the raw milk we didn’t use
So some extra bucks were earned
There was no waste from butter or cream
The pigs would just get a treat
Of course dad milked early each morn
Tote hot water, wash the teats
No getting away with a milk cow
Twice a day Dad milked Old Blue
Hated to milk cold winter mornings
Just something he had to do
The farm let Dad get back to his roots
Said it was good for the boys
That why he bought the farm and live stock
To live a life he enjoyed
While eating barbecued chicken last night
Realized it was once a living creature
All of a sudden I felt quite strange about eating it
Now I'm not a vegetarian preacher
What made me think about it after all my years
And the amount of chicken I've downed
Not sure but I really didn't like the feeling
Must have eaten hundreds of pounds
My dad was a pseudo vegetarian of sorts
Very rarely eating any kind of meat
So it seems after all these many years later
His motivation was not quite so unique
Back then he was considered a wee bit strange
With some of the ideas he chimed
Now realize after more than sixty years later
He was just a bit ahead of his time
<3 <3 <3
© Jack Ellison 2013
Letter to Mum and Dad
Dear Mum, Dear Dad, you're gone from my life.
I remember you now as a good husband and wife.
Dad, I saw you lay there. Lifeless, quite still.
The shocks that they gave you, zapped at my will.
When I touched you, your body, still warm, lips blue.
A far cry from the father, the man I once knew.
Your cheeks in contrast, stood out, quite bold.
Your hand I touched. That memory I hold.
Mum, I never saw you, when you passed away.
You were alone in your bed, so it's for you that I pray.
I remember you most, for the love that you gave me.
Always caring, never judging, I wished I could save thee.
Now that you're gone, I don't feel alone.
You're the best parents in life, this child could have known.
So it's with you in memory, my life has begun.
I remain as always, your ever loving son.
DADS LITTLE BLACK BOX….
When I was a tiny tot, just up off the ground,
My dad had a little black box, which mad a lot of sound.
It would go off, during the night,
on with the boots,& out of sight.
My dad is, a fire fighter you see,
Being all that he could be.
Through the summer, he was gone a lot,
Fighting fire which, burnt so hot.
Winter came, as did rain,
Dad’s black box would, sound again.
He is a fire fighter, you see,
Mending things for you and me.
One day when I was older,
I made a decision that would make me bolder.
I would to be a fire fighter
Making peoples days much brighter.
I’d climb into to that big red truck,
With my dad and all our luck,
We’d fight the fire, side by side
Clean the mess with the greatest pride.
I’ll wear the black boots, just like my dad,
Wear my yellows, and whistle a tad.
I know the next time my black box will sound
I’ll be on my way, to the fire ground.
I’ll meet him there and when we’re done
I’ll hug him tight and say thanks for the fun.
For my dad is a fire fighter you see
Just like him, I’ve come to be.
Brother, Big “J”, was the first born
I was the last to arrive
Born to some loving parents
Our family life did survive
In my family as I grew up
It was Dad who was “Da Man”
And Dad and Mom would speak as one
That’s how our family ran
Never did I hear a cross word
Spoken between Dad and Mom
If waters churned behind closed doors
I only saw waters calm
My folks both come from the old school
Sparing the rod’s not their thing
Dad did most of the discipline
Sometime he punished with pain
When Big “J” or I, did bad things
Mom would say in a low tone
Words that we both hated to hear
“Just wait till your Dad gets home”
As I grew older, I soon found
A whipping isn’t so bad
Punishment by a tongue lashing
Could really make you feel sad
It was off to church each Sunday
Then we would go out to eat
To Luby’s Cafeteria
To me that was such a treat
We took a family vacation
To a new place every year
It was planned to fit our budget
We did things kind of austere
Most of his life, Dad was a cop
Of one sort or another
A grandson became a cop too
As did one of his brothers
Now Dad was a “Jack of All Trades”
Must have learned lots on the farm
My Mom was an excellent cook
Our food was always served warm
Both had a great sense of humor
My Dad could tell a good joke
He did have one bad habit though
For many years he puffed smoke
I lost Dad at age fifty three
Mom left at seventy two
I’m the only one still alive
Brother Big “J” is gone too
Of course I miss them all so much
They left me here all alone
Those memories from my early years
No longer shared, since they’re gone
Canny remember this Lass's name,
but fur the poem's sake let's assume she's Jane.
'Jane ' this per wee soul had fingers lighter than a blidy feather,
aw things within her sicht yea had tae tether.
Wartime is no jist a time fur wurry or sorrow,
Certainly no fur Jane, aw things she wanted she jist borrowed.
Aye aw things she'd borrow without askin' if she could:(
frae clothes pegs,newspapers an' oany flippin' type o' food.
Funny thing tho' is ,she wis hard tae catch,
wae Jane, things vanished, even oot o' awbidy's veggie patch.
Noo this went oan fur sum munths -even a year.
every week sum wee thing wid jist disappear.
Everybidy jist kent is wis this lass Jane,
bit ivery bidy's attempt tae catch her wis jist in vain.
Yea kid be talkin tae her an' she kid steal yer blidy teeth,
nae kiddin' this lass wis beyond belief.
We lived in number three oor wee But'N'Ben,
Jane lived in five or wis it ten?
Nae matter- she lived in tapmaist flat,
jist hersel' withoot luv an' no even a wee tabby cat:(
No oor family didnae want tae drop her in the poo,
jist teach her a lesson ma dad said he wid do.
So ma Dad an'ma uncle Harry made a parcel wae a few frills,
An' left it oan the neighbour's doonstairs windae-sill.
Sure as itchy flees oan a wee cat's bum,
it wisnae lang before Jane did come.
She walked past the frilly parcel here oan the windae-ledge,
ma Dad an' uncle Harry watchin' -nerves oan edge.
Quick as a blidy blidy' flash,
that said parcel unner Jane's airm an' oaf she dashed.
Up the stairs tae her flat in number ten.
dad an' uncle Harry waited fur whit they didnae ken.
Suddenly the level three tap windae o' Jane's wee flat,
an' oot came that undone frilly parcel like a blidy scalded cat.
It landed at ma Dad an' uncle Harry's feet,
whit wis in that parcel a canny easily repeat.
Dad an' uncle Harry wir in fits an' tears,
their laffin' muscles wir in tap gear.
A wee clue tae the contents - Coo's S#!^#,
stull wonderin' eh? Rhymes wae Kite.
Noo cross ma hert this story is true,
cos' we had a dairy roon back which had lotes o' coo's poo.
As for Jane - weel she kent we knew she had fingers light,
never again did she pick up parcels full of S#!^#.
Aye the last wurd rhymes wae Kite
The Auld Yin.
POOR ME-POOR ME- POUR ME ANOTHER ONE
This is the tale of Andre and Lowell
Andre was black and Lowell was white
this is the tale of the car both of them stole
and a court system that just ain't right
Andre was from the hood where money is scarce
and the inhabitants lived day to day
the days could be combative and the nights were fierce
but Lowell came from the right side of the San Francisco Bay
Lowell's dad had a high paying job down town
Andre's dad worked for the day labor folk
Lowell went to a dance with a girl in a gorgeous gown
Andre couldn't go anywhere because his family was broke
one night the two friends had nothing to do
when both of their visions espied a Porshe, brand fu*king new
Andre knew the ins and outs of hot wiring a car
and Lowell knew it would take them near or far
well they didn't get very far that night
because suddenly red and blue lights began to flash
the night was dark but the colored lights were bright
and all six cops were burly and brash
so they were cuffed and taken to jail
and they both need money to get out
of course Lowell got out because daddy made bail
and thus began a course in what racism is all about
the next morning they met before the judge
Lowell sat there in ease knowing he had a lawyer expensive as hell
Andre stayed motionless, afraid to make a budge
and his body a lot of sweat to quell
one separate trial but two outcomes were announced
Lowell's daddy had money so the lawyer cost seventy-five grand
Andre's jaw dropped when he heard his sentence pronounced
as he thought about how men on the chain gang became so tanned
Andre got five to eight years in a prison upstate
Lowell got no community service and a ninety dollar fine
all Andre could do was complain to his present cell mate
while Lowell continued buying caviar and drinking the finest wine
so that was the tale of a car, two friends and justice denied
because the rich and poor have two different laws
behind her mask the lady of law simply cried
and instead of nails she should have claws
© 2012....copyright PHREEPOETREE ~free cee!~
Always been blessed with “stick-to-it-ness”
Got it from my dear old dad
He once rode a bike three hundred sixty miles
Took four days each way, egad!
At any age, that's quite an accomplishment
But my dad was sixty years old
From Montreal to Toronto and back again
A feat so gruelling, so bold
A wee one of ten back in nineteen forty-six
Didn't hit me till many years later
The impact of his enormous accomplishment
It then seemed a whole lot greater
Been telling this proud tale wherever I go
Bout inheriting his “stick-to-it-ness”
Don't think I can even come close to matching
The resolve and dedication he possessed
© Jack Ellison 2013
Sadly, he died of cancer at the young age of 67
My dad promised me a better life then all of this?
I stand at a cash register yet long for a job of bliss?
Why did he continue on with auntie and cause me such pain?
Now my back and feet hurt from this job with barely any gain?
My brother stocks shelves at the local market down the road,
Carrying 50 pounds or more every time he carries a load,
My mother can barely make ends meet with the three of us still at home,
But my dad carried on responding to the auntie and her poem?
He knew God had sent great messages and prophecy.
To give us a better life then what I have in front of me,
My feet are blistered and I stand all day long in this store,
I wanted so much from life, to travel and to see so much more.
**dedicated to those not hearing the messages of God,
it will carry on to see what you are reading if it does not change.
consider that prophecy like the JOB
When I turned twelve, Dad bought me a shot gun
Thought two sons hunting with him, would be fun
My brother also got his at that age
They were Remington Wingmaster, 12 gauge
Dad had two Pointer bird dogs, both well-trained
This is a breed born to hunt, it’s ingrained
The dogs had been named Old Red and Clover
Clover ranged close but Red was a rover
Dad’s bird hunt of choice, was always Bob Whites
As these quail don’t run before they take flight
Other types of quail, like the West Texas Blues
Run before they flush, that’s dog hunt bad news
I’d walked on hunts, but never with a gun
Then dad said “Boys you’re hunting on this one”
We both knew gun safety and how to shoot
Clay pigeons move out, but quail really scoot
“Get the butt tight to your shoulder”, said Dad
The gun kicked hard, so the stock had a pad
Still before I learned, my shoulder was blue
It didn’t take long to know what to do
We left for the hunt, the sky was still black
Went in the old pickup with dogs in back
Just getting light when we got to the field
Gave the dogs a short run, then made them heel
We started to walk, but stayed fairly tight
Dad was in the middle and Big “J” on the right
Clover was working but stayed right in front
Old Red was way out ranging wide to hunt
We could see Red when he went on a point
When Clover saw him, she froze every joint
Old Red on a point is a sight to see
Clover backing the point’s a thrill to me
We walked toward the covey very slow
Clover stayed, just in front, she’d freeze then go
Old Red would only move a foot or two and freeze
Dad talked soft, wanting to keep Red at ease
Both dogs looked tense and about to explode
Like a beam in stress from an over load
When the birds all flushed with that sudden roar
Big “J” shot one and Dad dropped down two more
I never raised my gun, so had egg on my face
Spellbound by the dogs, I couldn’t keep pace
They both had a good laugh at my expense
It’s my first time out, I said in defense
The dogs retrieved the bird as they were trained
Then the hunt ended as down came the rain
On the way home I yelled, “I’m the winner!”
I don’t have to clean a shot gun before dinner
I must have been six years old
When my Dad came home one day
He had a shoe box under his arm
What’s in it? He wouldn’t say
Mom said it’s a surprise for you
It’s something that’s really great
You can see it after dinner
If you both clean your plate
My bro and I scoffed it down
We just couldn’t wait to see
When Dad took off the lid
We were happy as can be
A Boston terrier puppy dog
As tiny as he could be
His Mom wouldn’t feed her pups
That’s why we got him for free
No solid food for several weeks
An eye dropper used to feed
The first two weeks were nip and tuck
But then he grew like a weed
My Dad said “it’s your dog boys”
Come up with a name that’s right
We thought, we fought and finally agreed
So we named him “Dynamite”