Monday, October 22, 2018

Today's poem by Ted Kooser

                 Father

Today you would be ninety-seven
if you had lived, and we would all be
miserable, you and your children,
driving from clinic to clinic,
an ancient fearful hypochondriac
and his fretful son and daughter,
asking directions, trying to read
the complicated, fading map of cures.
But with your dignity intact
you have been gone for twenty years,
and I am glad for all of us, although
I miss you everyday - the heartbeat
under your necktie, the hand cupped
on the back of my neck, Old Spice
in the air, your voice delighted with stories.
On this day each year you loved to relate
that the moment of your birth
your mother glanced out the window
and saw lilacs in bloom. Well, today
lilacs are blooming in side yards
all over Iowa, still welcoming you.

Ted Kooser from Delights & Shadows 2004 

16 comments:

  1. This touched me because my beloved husband of 61 years is 91 and in major failing health ... I wish he never had to endure the indignities of extreme old age!

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    1. I'm so sorry dear Jill. Thank you for telling me. I'll be thinking of you. Please do keep in touch.

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  2. This is lovely and so poignant. Extreme old age, as Jill says above, is tough to endure. My Dad, if he were still here, would be 93, almost 94. I miss him and my Mom every day.

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    1. I'm hoping for healthy extreme old age! Too greedy of me?! I'm sure you do miss them both. Such love between you three.

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  3. Good old, Ted Kooser! His words are so honest and real. This poem really speaks to me. My dad will be 86 in January and while I hope he's around for many more years, I hope he doesn't have to endure the indignities of extreme old age.

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    1. I agree. And I do know that it is meaningful to you.

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  4. My in-laws are both in 92 and they live at home together but with no help. This last month my father-in-law wrecked bother cars and lost his drivers license. My mother-in-law is the caretake for my step father-in-law who is a stubborn man and will not move out of their house or get help. It is hard ot be old for those who are and those who love them.

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    1. Very frightening about the car accidents. And so hard for each of them, in their own ways. It is awfully hard to be independent all one's life, and then to have to ask for help.

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  5. First time I've heard expressed the feeling of relief the loved one has died while at the same time missing them very much and understanding them better over time.

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    1. That's a gift of poetry, I think. It can express the inexpressible.

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  6. Thank you, Nan. This is really touching my heart.

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    1. Poetry is so special. It can say things that we often only feel.

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  7. I had a coworker who constantly told me "we live too long"... which if you are failing slowly and painfully can be true. But, there are those who can enjoy their extreme old age, and certainly why not if you can! My Grandmother in Law lived to be 103 1/2 (the halfs count at that age!) She was still beating everyone at Scrabble!! Unrelated, I love your header picture ~ i thought you had a donkey, but don't think I realized you had sheep! :))) A lovely scene indeed~

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    1. Wonderful, wonderful about Scrabble!! What we all hope for! Yes, we now have Shetlands. Smaller sheep than our past Rambouillets, Border Leicesters, Romney crosses. Tom said he couldn't bury any more big sheep! How are all your animals? I miss your postings.

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