The old man sat with eyes closed, dozing in his chair
Until a little voice he heard say “Grandpa, are you there”.
He gazed upon a little boy while waking from his nap
Then reached down with a sweeping move and placed him in his lap
The child was carrying a book that he wanted him to see
He held it up and asked him “Grandpa, will you read to me”?
The old man cleaned his glasses then opened up the book
And suddenly the two of them a wonderous journey took
They ventured lands so far away, sailed seas not sailed before
Met knights and kings and wizards on every distant shore.
Together they fought dragons, saved damsels in distress
Freeing lands of monsters and the treasures they possess
When the old man closed the cover to end their magic ride
He told the boy “We're much like books, what's important is inside”.
But one day when the boy arrived and rushed to Grandpas chair
Much to his disappointment, his Grandpa was not there
He ran to find his mother for surely she would know
Why the chair was empty, where did his Grandpa go
She sat him down and asked him if he remembered in each book
The adventures and the journeys that he and Grandpa took
He took you there to show you the things that you can find
The wonders that are yours to see if you open up your mind.
But he still walks beside you in the stories you have read
You're not left to go alone, he’s just gone on ahead
The child then went and chose a book and climbed up in the chair
And opening up the cover whispered “Grandpa, are you there”?
Father’s bare feet left footprints in the sand
Young son followed, each step carefully planned
Tim wanted so much to be like his Dad
Always emulating, quite a sweet lad
So as you leave impressions on life’s shore
Remember your path will not be ignored
Tread gently, leave prints that make your kids proud
Step far away from the perilous crowd
Stop at times, build sandcastles, pick up shells
Memories can’t be erased by sea swells
Imprints on children’s hearts last forever
Keep this in mind through every endeavor
A child may be following your footsteps
Always make your marks with loving precepts
*Entry for Francine's "Barefoot" contest
A Child’s View of Death
People say now that Grandpa was thin
But he had plump cheeks; cancer had set in
Each Sunday penny candy in my hand he’d place
And with rugged hands he’d embrace my face
To an impetuous toddler, his cigars smelled foul
But I don’t remember him ever sporting a scowl
On the way to mass my hand he’d squeeze
And no one ever mentioned his disease
But I’ll not forget the way mama cried
When she hugged me and said Grandpa had died
Though yellow tulips bloomed outside
I entered that parlor where emotions ran high
Grandpa looked peaceful, like he was asleep
I walked softly toward him, not making a peep
Where was that smile I’d come to expect
Not one movement could I detect
It can cause harm taking preschoolers to funerals
Death viewings can be the most frightening rituals
Fear lingered for months as I dreamt of him
Lying in a coffin, his skin cold and face grim
Children should remember those who have passed
Alive and happy, the way they’d seen them last
A fear of death plagued me for many years
I couldn’t accept that good people disappear
From our lives, to be buried in the ground
In thoughts of this loss, my spirits drowned
It wasn’t till later I realized the eternal life of souls
And that in both forms of life, we each have our roles
Be sure to tell little ones of God’s special home
And how our deceased loved ones sit by His throne
In coming to terms with this revelation
I learned to see death as a new life’s creation
*For Lay's "Darkest Childhood Memory" Challenge
I built a paper sail boat to take me out to see;
What lies beyond the setting sun in lands across the sea.
The boats a smaller replica of the big one that I'll make,
to hold all of my fantasies and a dozen chocolate cakes.
I chose my hamster, Freddy, as the captain, but I think...
He's overly excited or had too much to drink..
Either way - he's off, oh, look at Fred, he's having so much fun.
"Good bye my friend, I'll see you when we meet the setting sun".
But, as I wave my last farewell , my smile turns to a frown,
As I watch poor Fred, bailing water, as his mighty ship goes down.
So, heed my tale adventures, please heed what I just wrote,
Don't sail away on paper dreams 'cause paper dreams don't float.
Keep your feet on solid ground and if you you choose to sail,
Remember Fred, I fear he's dead, 'cause he forgot the pail.
I took a walk down Columbia Street
Back to the place where we used to meet
Where we played as kids until after dark
And hung out together up at Dutch Hill Park
Although alone, I could hear the sound
Of laughter coming from the merry go round
Sometimes we'd meet there in the early dawn
The dance hall, pavilion and the swings are gone
I saw those pine trees and I thought of you
And all the crazy things we used to do
Like sleeping out underneath the stars
Hanging upside down from the monkey bars
A swing made from a rope and an old tire
We baked potatoes on an open fire
Squirrel nut zippers and an RC coke
Transistor radio and we'd have a smoke
We walked in the woods and we climbed some trees
We scratched our faces and we skinned our knees
Never dreaming that it would ever end
If I could, I'd do it all again my friend
Those memories I have will never part
I carry Dutch Hill Park inside my heart
And all those memories of yesteryear
Heading back home now I shed a tear.
Impressionable young hearts do tell the grandest lies
When learned from grandfathers with sparkling eyes
Grandfathers living renewed through the breath of a grandchild
Oh grandfathers’ whoppers told in all kindness and glory
The bigger the whopper makes the child’s lies the cute little story
Thus the grandchild’s faith breeching walls of reasonable reality
Simply because beloved grandfather had told the story
My grandfather said it was so- tiny voice of pledged belief
And I believe him -for grandfather would never lie to me
So sleep little one- dream the telling’s of funny grandfathers beloved
For their little lies to you are meant to not make you a worried
But make you believe in the impossibilities of grandeur and extravagance
There is a Santa Clause
The fish really was so big it couldn’t fit in the boat
I wrestled a grizzly when I was just about your age
For in the telling of such blessed little lies
A remembrance of grandfather will never die
The wisdom and laughter thus remembered in each time’s telling
Will warm you over and over- as little lies do you begin the telling
The pendulum motions to and fro,
From the clock upon the wall.
As the second ebb like grains of sand,
For one by one they fall.
Through the window of the dim lit room,
For outside, lies a world of grey,
For thoughts now turn to yester year,
That seems so far away.
With freckle on skin and golden hair,
Topped with lace like bonnet fair.
Upon a face a smile of glee,
As little feet splash in the sea.
A bucket clenched in fingers tight,
With spade to match its colors bright.
In awe and wonder of many things,
Through eyes so young that new life brings.
N Windle. MMXI.
On a December day some years ago
Three boys decide to play in the snow
A snowball fight is what it would be
So they made their piles, counting ... "one, two, three!"
Soon balls were flying all over the place
Sometimes in the chest, sometimes in the face
But the game didn't last as long as you'd think
After just a few hits, to their knees they would sink
So moms loaded them up and drove them away
To the doctor's office, for a hospital stay
The doctor asked one lad, "What happened here, son?"
The boy replied, "Snowball fight...and man, was it fun!"
A questioning look came over doc's face
And he spoke without doubt, not even a trace
"Son, it hasn't snowed here in nearly three years.
It all turns to rain as soon as it nears."
The boy looked up with a face mighty stern
As if the good doc had something to learn
"Well...we use our imagination, ole doc.
When we ain't got the snow, we just use a rock."
*This poem was inspired by Heather Ober's poem, 'Snowy Love'
Although this story, unlike most of mine, isn't completely true, we did often substitute dirt clods for snowballs...and many kids went home with black eyes and busted noses.
Looking all around me and becoming more aware,
Of the people and surroundings at which many children stare.
I come to terms and realize the acts of hate I see,
And now I fear that this same scene will soon envelope me.
Walking on a lonesome road, though crowded it may seem,
I pass through silent hordes of people hushing silent screams.
Beside me standing hand-in-hand, older man and wife,
I wonder if they thought like me, what happened to their life.
I reminisce now further back before these broken days,
A time of wasting food and drink and dressing different ways.
But now we all look just alike in tattered grays and browns,
Drifting through these damaged streets and sporting matching frowns.
I thought we'd left the two world wars and poverty behind,
To linger in our broken books and fill an older time.
A time where death would cloud the world with sorrow and disease,
And fear would plant itself within the innocent with ease.
This made me think and look around for Noah and his arc,
And for the first time since the night I heard a flustered lark.
I quickly turned around to spot within a child's hands,
An injured bird whose time had brought it here from other lands.
The child stole a piece of thread from a redbreast robin's nest,
And wrapped around the ailing bird a splint so it could rest.
An hour past the lark took flight and answered to the wild;
The only resting place of hope is in the bright eyes of a child.
The Great White Pumpkin
By Dane Smith-Johnsen
Ghostly Pumpkin dull and white
Plans to give a ghastly fright.
Rough and tough his wrinkled skin
Mesmerizing twenty men.
Soon “Big Buddy” comes around.
Cuts a circle in his crown.
Jagged teeth and fearsome smile
Eyes and eyebrows carved in style.
Tasty innards scraped right out.
“Where's my nose?” White Pumpkin shouts!
Come on partner night grows dark.
Time to start the candle's spark.
Glowing eyes on front porch steps
Watch young goblins full of pep.
“Trick-or-Treat” the children chime.
Great White Pumpkin sings in time.