Excerpt from pages 7-10
MY FATHER’S JOURNAL
Years ago my father began putting his hopes
and dreams in a journal.
These were his own personal reflections of
a life he hoped would be fruitful and filled
with happy and cherished memories.
But there are no guarantees, and we are not
shielded from life’s hardships and disappointments.
They are constant and lurking, just waiting
to inflict their own brand of hell.
My father never got the opportunity to
complete his journal to the desired ending
he would have hoped for, but his words and
deeds, I believe, were noble and courageous.
My father possessed great inner strength,
he taught me right from wrong,
his was a true and unwavering spirit,
he was righteous, brave, and strong.
He was called to service many years ago,
the horrors of war took my father away,
it came to pass, he went missing in action,
I wait for him to return someday.
I can remember that day many years ago,
home from school with a touch of flu,
I saw my mother as she answered the door,
it may sound strange, but I think she knew.
Two men in uniform looking strong and trim,
I stood to the side with my sister Grace,
the soldiers said they were deeply sorry,
I could see the pain on my mother’s face.
I visited our old house sometime back,
and was saddened by what I saw,
ravaged by time, I just turned and left,
before I even reached the door.
The house had been empty all these years,
only a shell of what it used to be,
but something strange about this old house,
I could swear it was calling out to me.
I knew no other family had ever called it home,
now a place of memories and ghosts of the past,
one day long ago it lost its spirit,
and patiently waits for it to return at last.
Last night in a dream I visited again,
a bittersweet journey back through the years,
I watched my family and younger self,
as we laughed and struggled through the tears.
I wondered why now these memories surfaced,
but I know there are places in the mind,
where we hide away the pain and sorrow,
that we’d prefer to leave behind.
There were images that stirred deep emotions,
some were happy, others filled with regret,
the dream was the key that opened the door,
to memories I wished to forget.
But this was the place where my life began,
the stage for my formative years,
where I learned the lessons life teaches,
and sought approval from family and peers.
It all began on the street outside the old house,
time took its toll, the years were unkind,
I walked up the path to the front door,
and shuddered to think what I’d find.
I hesitated a moment, then opened the door,
it was unlocked, to no great surprise,
as I stepped inside, it was quiet and still,
if not a dream, I would have thought this unwise.
SHORT STORIES IN VERSE
But as the door closed slowly behind me,
the past years seemed to melt away,
everything appeared as it was back then,
when I was a kid who loved to play.
But it was more than a dream, I was back again,
in the old home I used to know,
and then to add to the wonder of it all,
were familiar sounds from long ago.
Mom’s sweet voice, Dad’s hearty laughter,
time looked back and decided to restore,
all the simple things I took for granted,
but appreciated them now more than ever before,
I walked over to the window and looked outside,
and watched Mom and Dad on the porch seat swing,
they held hands and talked and swung back and forth,
flowers were blooming, it was early spring.
There were songbirds chirping on the maple tree,
and in the distance church bells ringing,
the far-off whistle of the old train engine,
and on the radio someone was singing.
One of those sounds was a piercing scream,
it was my little sister, she laughed and played,
and climbed up to the top, and then slid down,
on the slide my father made.
The old home seemed to come alive,
it spoke to me after all these years,
and whispered, one time within these walls,
there was laughter, joys, and tears.
Memories and visions were alive in the dream,
things that sometimes the mind displaces,
Dad and Mom and little sister,
I could hear their voices and see their faces,
Without knowing why, I walked to the staircase,
that lead to the upper floor,
and slowly began to climb the steps,
as I had done so many times before.
MY FATHER’S JOURNAL
The sounds from below began to fade away,
and the silence grew with each step I took,
for a moment, I thought someone was behind me,
I finally reached the top, but dared not look.
I was drawn toward the steps of the attic,
it was a sudden overpowering feeling,
I tried to turn away, but there was a voice,
that said, “Fear not it is part of your healing.”
As I climbed the steps to the attic,
there was a strange sound I cannot explain,
like music from long ago in the distant past,
it was a happy familiar refrain.
I opened the door to the musty old place
and was struck by the silence and gloom,
in younger years I rarely visited
the long dark spooky room.
But the mysterious voice spoke once again,
continue on and have no fear,
and remember as in life, so to in a dream,
things are not always as they appear.
It was quiet and still in the attic,
only the whispering wind made a sound,
I wondered what lurked in the dark recesses,
and felt to this house I was bound.
Daylight was streaming in from the window,
it was then that I noticed the chair,
and on the seat of the aged wood,
I spied an old book resting there.
I was struck by the thought, as strange as it was,
that the chair and book were waiting for me,
I stood for a moment and glanced all around,
there was nothing else to see.
My steps were slow and carefully measured,
as I made my way across the floor,
it’s hard to explain, it all seemed so real,
even the sound of the closing door.