Poem on the Life and Death of My Father

Ferd and Lura Jean Honeymoon NYC

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Our Father Who Now Art in Heaven

For Ferd Brownlee Park

To our heavenly Father

I offer this heartfelt psalm
of today and for today
A psalm to console and to honor
a quiet psalm
for our father
who now art in heaven above
with his Holy Father
and his Homestead
southeast of Pittsburgh father
and all the fathers before
even from across the sea.

My father
our father on this earth
these many years
man of God, truly,
these many years
humble man of the cloth
mountain of a man
noble man with blessings and grace
proud and tall and
driven enough to push on
day in and day out
year in year out
itinerant and on a mission
like a rider of the circuit
moving down his trail
etching a mark on the ground he touched
leaving a mark on the most resistant heart
Wandering rider of the circuit
following up and down
every narrow path
crossing back and forth
all the maps of the Good Book.

Man of God truly
to whom so many came
on whom so many leaned
by whom so many were lead
and given solace
and such crystal clear inspiration.

A thousand stories or more
to show what’s right and true
and rousing hymns to carry home the point
as we try to navigate that same path
following his trail over a life.

Our great father who guided me too
intricately
despite his power
and taught me all the secrets and the ropes…
As has the woman our father chose
and who chose him
and never let up
one from the other
as per the sacred vow
not even now and not ever
One always waiting for the other
and waiting even now
for life to go one
life in the here and now
and life in the sweet by and by
on that shining bank of the river.

Our father leaving home
Our father taken home
by those gentle hands of the Lord he served
So faithfully
So very full of faith
So full of passion
So like the loudest bell
So muscular his grasp on the world
and of every hand stretched out to him
So softly and tenderly too
and on occasion silently
he reached out to every heart.

I saw you everywhere
over the years
standing tall on the rock of the ages
lifting up all the melodies a soul could ever hold
hymns you never abandoned
and that never left you either
raising up your heart and spirit skyward
and we do not weep now
or at least do hold out that promise
but will carry in all the corners of our memories
your most precious gift
that of laughter
like a friendly wind
that stole away our darkest fears and hurt
that held us high always
that made us embrace this very life
wholly and utterly
and love this world with you.

Our father,
we miss you
your every breath and smile and prayer and gem of wisdom
already
Already.
We know you will be singing now
with triumphant joy
with long deserved relief
and we will try to echo you still
to shadow you still
as we have always and will forever
Forever live
Forever recall
So,   so many of your moments here

Amen

 

March 7, 2011

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