Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Infinite, A Riddle

I think he was very proud of this one. He should be.

God made the sun and said, "'Tis good";
And God spoke truth.
God made the earth and said, "'Tis good";
And God spoke truth.
God made the beast, the bird, the toad,
And gazing on't He said, "'Tis good"'
And God spoke truth.
Then God made man and said, "'Tis good"'
Can God be wrong?

The Corporate Party

This one I love for the language...and picturing my Dad standing on the side, watching.

The man with the slicked down hair,
Ottered into the nearest chair.
A sharp faced rodent-like woman
Scurried to seem collegian.
A lion maned executive
Succeeded in acting restive.
The boredom was palpably real
Conditions were less than ideal.
Inanity was the watchword,
Truth struggled in vain to be heard.

The hyenas laughed in chorus
Both timorous and dolorous.
The climbers foxed, senses alert,
Seeking quarry, seeming pert.
The cheshire smiles were vacuous,
The observations fatuous.
The wise owled into the background,
The naive into the foreground.

Danger tigered the occasion
Mendacity stalked evasion.
Careers moled into the deep dark
Having caught the eye of a shark.
Pleasantries snaked in disguise
Mendacity lobstered crabwise.
Presence had been mandatory -
Truth stayed clear - supererogatory.

The Pool

I'm very fond of this one. He captured my mom perfectly.

I stood before her and said, "Hello,"
And suddenly was startled.
She was quite pretty, no cameo,
But her eyes - I was engulfed.
Wisdom, trust, kindness, but above all
Innocence held me in thrall.

Forty five years we have shared our lives.
In wonder I have witnessed
Strangers meet her and become captives,
Then open their most cherished
Inner selves for her calm perusal.
No thought of a refusal.

The why and wherefores I cannot ken,
But the evidence is there.
I can't question what my eyes have seen
And shared with my lady fair.
Some say they know, it's called empathy.
I know what it's meant to me.

The depths of the simplicity stirs,
Calling to the primal spurs.
Pure, undemanding, understanding,
Wholly a sense of sharing.
A gift given to only a few,
Awareness of me and You.

This Is A Gift for my Dad

This is a tribute to my dad. He and I didn't always see eye to eye. In fact, it's more accurate to say we didn't get along very well most of my life. We loved each other, but we often didn't like each other.

He died of cancer in 2003 and we became good friends in the last year of his life. Perhaps we finally could both relax enough to drop all the masks and expectations that no longer served us. We had a lot in common - a lot we didn't even know we had in common. One of the things we shared was a love of writing and a love for books.

He got serious about his writing a few years before my mother died. He wrote a lot of short stories and some poems. He dreamed of publishing a book one day. He didn't expect anyone would read it, he just wanted to get it published.

He had a lot of stories to tell. He grew up in a family that was Euro-Bohemian-Victorian, if there is such a thing. They had old world ideas and manners, a strong creative and intellectual curiosity, and some notions held over from the turn of the century. He grew up in the Bronx. He spent his summers in the Hudson River valley, a place where his heart took root. He was a Romantic working in the corporate world. He was a philosopher/poet who was too self-conscious to live the life he'd have truly enjoyed. He was not an easy man, but he was a good man and he felt things deeply.

Dad had a very organized file of stories painstakingly typed with two fingers on an old word processor, copied in duplicated and carefully paper clipped and sorted with little handwritten labels. I kept it after he died.

I sat on the floor in my dining room today and reread what my dad had written. It's a throwback to an earlier style, a more formal combination of sentiment and intellect than is fashionable today. But that's who my dad was. And I realized there's one last thing I can do for him. I can publish his work.

Like my dad, I don't expect anyone to read it. That's not the purpose.

It's just something I can do for him that I think he'd really like. And that feels pretty good.

So bear with me - there's a lot of typing to be done and things may show up here slowly. But they'll eventually get here.

World, meet my dad. Dad, go ahead and say your piece.