To My Father

By the wayside goes Tennyson’s Idylls—
the best of knights laid to rest
among constellations, comets, nebulae
and any splendor spared from sunset

My unpacking is eternal
Roman ruins, crumbled castles
Stonehenge, Starnbergersee

I used to think that too much poetry
caused my worship of starship captains

You, pipe-smoking Sherlock
were the silent-gunned cowboy
singing Simon and Garfunkel
reading books about dragons

Lifelong Texan, I dream you
in New England rain
Welsh hill-mist

My hero ageless in black socks
mowing grass, drinking tea
(sometimes whiskey)
pitching horseshoes

There is a heart to this–

10 thoughts on “To My Father”

  1. Jennifer! It’s all simply a very moving homage to your father. Seven stanzas, “memory slices” that compose a very personal and touching portrait. “Starnbergersee” – a wonderful lake near Munich (I love lakes!) do you have German roots? After reading, it seems to me I know your father… because you mentioned so many meaning details about him. Thank you very much for sharing this 🙂


    1. Thank you so much for reading and appreciating. I lost my father almost 15 years ago–but I am always thinking about how he might have liked some book I’m reading, or some beautiful place we travel. I do have some German roots–a few generations back, though. 🙂 We are not too far from Munich now, have driven by the Starnbergersee. I always think of the line from T.S. Eliot’s “The Wasteland”–do you know it?


      1. No I don’t! I’m going to read it… My parents died in 1992… both because of cancer, I was young then, only 23 years old, but in reality they never have left me. It is probably the reason why your poem touched me deeply. “but I am always thinking about how he might have liked some book I’m reading, or some beautiful place we travel.”, maybe what I am going to tell you sounds a bit naive, Jennifer, but I really believe this: as your father is obviously still present in your heart, he sees and feels eveything you see and feel…
        Enjoy your trip in beautiful Germany, one of my favorite country in the world :-). Now I must know more about “The Wasteland” 🙂


  2. I have to ask …Picard or Kirk? (I am a huge Sir Patrick Stewart fan.)

    Your ode to your father was poetic, lyrical and honest. There is a heart in there somewhere..thank you for sharing some of it with us.


    1. Thanks so much. Of course, when I sat down to drift and dream, I had no idea I would end up writing about my dad. It just hits me that way, sometimes.


      1. Frost said, ‘No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader.’ So he would definitely approve!! Always a good thing. Great job, again.


  3. Jennifer, this is so beautiful. I love that each stanza holds such vivid memories and tributes. You have painted a magnificent picture of your father here. Thanks for sharing it!


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