Monday, November 29, 2010

An Empty Chair

This is a revised version of the poem I submitted to Magpie Tales.  Many thanks to Willow for the prompt and her kind words.  Welcome, One Shot readers, and thanks for stopping by.

Like a tarnished trophy
Not polished since the days
When champion beagles
Bayed outside and gun racks
Lined the back hallway,
I sit on his dusty mantel.

Thanksgivings came and went--
Not one of them spent with us--
The call of the hunt,
The chase, life lived
At his pace, not ours;
An empty chair, his station.

Waiting to go to grandma’s--
Mom stuck with us, again--
A handful, no doubt,
She shouted us down
When she could stand
The din no more.

Dirty floors and clutter became
The hallmark of her sadness.
She turned to knickknacks
To fill the empty spaces,
Hiding pain with pretty,
Reveling in gladness transitory.

Flash forward, too fast--
The old dance now done,
Shoes are on the other’s feet--
Pity him, he cries,
For he lives alone in the house
They shared in their retirement.

So I go home when I can,
Taking my turn with the spoon,
Feeding she who once fed me,
Helping him care for her
In ways he never imagined,
For how long, we cannot know.

And yet our dance goes on,
My father and I--
I arrive, he begs off...things to do
At the empty house...he's gone--
Thanksgiving Day, 2010, I dine alone
At the nursing home with Mom.

A Magpie Tale.  To see other proffered Tales, click here!


Gerry Snape said...

Very, very moving!

The Bug said...

Beautiful - and heartbreaking. Love you, dear heart.

willow said...

So earthy and poignantly sad.

(I've gotta get these knickknacks off my desk...)

altar ego said...

In these few words you say so much, and speak the lives of many.

Helen said...

I was just overwhelmed by this ... a gift for each reader.

Berowne said...

Poignant, and well done.

NCmountainwoman said...

What a moving poem! I used to feel cheated that my parents died relatively young. When I read this, I'm not so sure.

Jingle Poetry said...

what a drama,
hopeful ending...
fabulous tale.

Stafford Ray said...

Poor man. Not you, the father who, for whatever reason, felt so uncomfortable around those he loves he misses out on sharing their lives. You are far richer for being there, sharing Thanksgiving with your mum.

Carolina Linthead said...

"I cried when I wrote this song...
sue me if I play too long.
This brother is free,
I'll be who I want to be."

Although I doubt I will ever learn to work the saxophone...

Thanks for stopping by...for being here.

Tess Kincaid said...

Thanks for your kind comment on "Horn of Plenty". I moderate comments on my older posts, that's why it didn't show up right away, but it's posted now. Blogging's like a rusty machine after Thanksgiving. I'm slowly making my way around the 'hood.

Okay. The knickknacks will stay. :)

Lucy Westenra said...

I waver between two theories of comments.
1. The very best poems get the fewest comments. The other poems seem to be universally "awesome"
2. Female poets get many more comments than male.
I can think of reasons in support of both these theories.
Oh . . BTW . . . yours is one of the very best I've read so far.

dustus said...

Beautiful poem! touching

Pete Marshall said...

moving, sad, and so well written..thanks for sharing pete

Shashi said...

Ahh!!! So soft and play of emotions within the interplay of relationship with your father.. I liked it. Thanks for sharing...

ॐ नमः शिवाय
Om Namah Shivaya
Twitter: @VerseEveryDay