Thursday, April 16, 2015

Guy Graybill Presents Cycle, Hand-Me-Downs, and Nimrod During National Poetry Month


              Ripening chestnuts.
        Neglected too long; new life
            Wriggles through their skins….
                                                                                       © Guy Graybill


Through the small pantry window he watched them;
Through the fast-fading light of the day.
He observed, with affection, his children,
Walking home from their school, miles away.
First, the tall teen-aged son crossed the barnyard,
Just ahead of the daughter, his twin.
Then the eight-year-old son came a-straggling.
All got drinks at the well, then came in.
Empty lunch pails they sat on the table,
While their ma greeted each one, in turn.
They laid books to be studied by lantern,
On the bench, where they’d soon sit to learn.
As their father stepped into the kitchen,
All three joined him to walk to the barn.
But his younger son tugged at his jacket,
And recited a child’s touching yarn.
The old teacher, the child told his father,
That old spinster who lives in the town,
Made him stand ‘fore the class as she told them
All his clothing had been ‘handed down’!
Giggling rose as she spoke, he related;
As she said that each item he wore
Had been there, in her room, on his brother.
She had “taught all his clothing before!”

Now the father’s rough fingers were gentle
As they brushed youthful tears from a cheek.
Then he stood with his son by the barn door
And reflected, before he would speak.

The two stood for long moments in silence
As the father prepared what to say;
Then he rested his hand on a shoulder
And he spoke, in a fatherly way.
“Do you know that this farm where we’re living
Was passed down by my grand-dad to me?
‘Though it’s small, it has fine fertile soil
And our house is delightful to see!
“And your mother’s fine set of bone china?
Handed down from her mother to her;
But, it’s not just material possessions,
Where the hand-me-downs often occur.
“Didn’t teacher once say you were clever;
With a mind that was witty and fine?
Well your wit you have gained from your mother;
‘Though I’d hope that a little was mine.

“Now, your eyes?  Hand-me-downs from your grandma…
And your smile was my dad’s, truth to tell.
We are all hand-me-downs, of a fashion;
In our minds and our bodies as well.

“So, my son, just as long as you’re honest
And as kind as we’ve taught you to be;
Then, don’t mind that possessions aren’t recent.
It they serve you, that’s really the key!

“Now, be quick to go help with the barn work,
‘Cause your mother’s made supper by now!”
Then the father walked down to the stables,
While the son threw down hay from the mow.
As he worked, a chill wind swirled about him,
So he buttoned his hand-me-down coat;
And it promptly began to protect him,
From a world far too cold. . . and remote.

 © Guy Graybill


“And the hunter home from the hill.”

Tis’ Stevenson’s line, I recall;

But the pen has replaced the quill…

And the hunter’s home from the mall.

                                                       ©   Guy Graybill 

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