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.
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 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.
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.