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Memories Are All That's Left Of Him

Poetry is the heart of literature. A story is fine, a poem reaches the soul quickly eliciting raw emotion, and a Poem that is story Rules!

Behind the Poem

Poetically featured for the Father’s Day season comes a narrative memorial about my limited, welcomed time with my father H. "Jack" Johnson.

Our relationship did not grow as deeply as I wanted because 2000+ miles of travel separated us. I went to visit him in Rochester, NY, or Gadsden, AL, where he died in 2018, and he always provided a place to stay and patriarchal company.

Dad never saw my kids in person. I fancy him looking from the other side at what came to be because he and Mother had me. He at least saw pictures and heard their voices. I love Dad.

Fathers' Day Season

One

Dad wore a green work suit and a coy smile to boot.

Resting weight shifted to his left leg,

Conduct, I guess, normal. Were we to be formal?

Not what I dreamed, but it works instead.


We talked for bits of time--not his first time but mine.

Not seeing me since I was age three

Standing here nervously, he looks so proud to see

How his kids turned out respectfully.

memories-are-all-thats-left-of-him

Two

Dad said words in speaking--counsel I plan keeping.

“Don’t ever disrespect your mother,”

Was his major advice. Kept it. Didn’t think twice!

Warning looks for me and my brother,


“Now, I will whoop that" {arse}, he says--won’t let that pass.

Vowing we’d get away with nothing.

Old school Dad’s what we had if he ever was mad.

Single mom raised him just like us kids.


Because he wasn’t there, Mom, all weight did she bear.

Dad taught us boys: live respectfully

Whether he’s there or not! One call, our heads he’d rock!

That caused Mom to smile delightfully!

We accept Dad

Three

His language was so raw, expletives from jaw

Are seventy percent of his words!

The Christain boys we were, we only said “Yes sir.”

To his F-words, swearing mouth of turds.


Of his veracity, his personality

We accept Dad as he comes to us.

It’d be ridiculous having been told he’s rough

Around the edges, of sort, and thus.

memories-are-all-thats-left-of-him

Four

Now that the time’s gone by I look back with my eye

Memories, those days again with him.

So much he meant to me, each breath that he did breathe.

Death separates us from both of them.


Father, I will see you, Mother I’ll see you too

Hopefully, you’re resting in heaven.

No matter what you’ve done, heaven is where you’ve gone!

Temple work makes me think you’re therein.

memories-are-all-thats-left-of-him

Five

We loved enough on earth to fill a lifetime’s worth

Of memories with some regrets yet.

No, you were not perfect You were just so worth it

Life’s not fair; that’s the rub we all get.


Look down on your grandkids, never seen in person.

Dad, I told them about you often.

At least they heard your voice, and if I had a choice

We would’ve been there at your coffin.


Together forever, I am a believer.

Covenants I made on your behalf.

I know through Jesus Christ we have eternal life.

Dad, say no F-words to heaven’s staff.

Inspiration of the Poem Style

Fellow writer John Hansen inspired me to use “A. B. " Banjo" Paterson's "A Bush Christening" as inspiration by borrowing its metre (meter) and rhyme scheme,” just like John’s poem “The Book of My Life ~ Old Memories Linger.” [1]

And like said poem, this poem “follows a syllable count of 12-9-12-9 and the A B C B rhyme scheme with an internal rhyme of the 6th and 12th words in the longer lines.” [1]

Read John's poem from the link at the end of the poem to see the source of my inspiration. The video of the example of the above meter sang is in the following video.

A Bush Christening

Acrostic Poetry

Brenda Arledge inspired me to write another poem in regard to the word prompt that I will tag here at the end. This is an exploration of acrostic poetry.

An acrostic is a poem in which the first letter of each line spells out a word, message or the alphabet. The word comes from the French acrostiche from post-classical Latin acrostichis, from Koine Greek ἀκροστιχίς, from Ancient Greek ἄκρος "highest, topmost" and στίχος "verse".

What are the rules? The one rule of an acrostic poem is that a word must be spelled among the beginning, middle, or ending letters of a line. An acrostic poem does not have to rhyme, but it can. It also doesn't have to follow a specific syllable count. [2]

memories-are-all-thats-left-of-him
having-a-dad-again

Like You Dad

Memories, all I see are memories I see.

Each one’s a bit fonder than before.

Misty-eyed memories calling my heart, you see

Opening my soul, this is no lore.


Raised brow look at my kid! He looks just like Dad did

In Dad's youth in military gear.

Even nose like him then, handsome face too, strong chin.

Serendipity, Dad's spirit’s near.

Notably commenting, Brenda Arledge poetically expressed he thoughts on the poems she inspired with her word-prompt "Memories." Following is a poem composed sole of her worlds arranged in three-line stanzas.

Empathic Evocation

It's sad that there were so many miles in between,

But I'm glad you did get to visit your Dad.

Your poem "Fathers' Day Season" is touching.


Nervously awaiting to see & hear your dad.

Building that bond together on those visits.

Listening & knowing to obey his old school mannerisms.


Accepting him just the way he is...for he is your Father.

Sadly you say goodbye without being able to make the trip.

You carry him with you waiting to join him again one day.


Sorry you are missing your mother also.

I'm glad he instilled some good values into your life.

Your acrostic poem is great.


It is amazing how we can see the resemblance

Of our parents in our children.

You have described this well.

~ Brenda Arledge

A wonderful tribute to the poems here, Brenda's comment--poetically sharing of her divine gift here, her muse full gift-giving beauty.

Changes made: creating stanzas, changing the name of the main poem to Fathers' Day Season, removing the apostrophe to the end of "Fathers" instead of the singular "Father's," creating a title, leaving off the end of the comment, and leaving off my name.

Brenda, muse-inspiredly, called my main poem Father's Day Season, so I changed the name to better fit that vision, my new vision.


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Rodric Anthony Johnson

Comments

Rodric Anthony Johnson (author) from Surprise, Arizona on June 21, 2021:

Brenda, your words are poetry. Even the comment you made below is the beginning of a poetic form! Today is wonderful!

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on June 21, 2021:

Rodric

I just read the part you added with my words.

Thank you. It really did read like a poem.

Maybe my mind constantly writes in poetic form.

Have a wonderful day!

Rodric Anthony Johnson (author) from Surprise, Arizona on June 19, 2021:

Brenda, I am adding it. Always, I will source your work and give you credit for your words. Thank you so much for letting me use them. You are such an inspiration just like Chitrangada Sharan give testimony.

Rodric Anthony Johnson (author) from Surprise, Arizona on June 19, 2021:

Chitrangada Sharan, it pleases me that my poem is, as you mentioned "beautifully crafted" and you enjoyed my pictures.

You down right gratified my pride. As I am not a liar by nature, I enjoyed that praise. It makes me want to try more things and improve my writing craft.

I love my family. I don't know if Bill Holland meant for me to be as literal as I am with my writing, but in one of his answers to the Mailbag, he told us to put ourselves, our experiences and feelings into our writing. I decided I would put some pictures in there too! Thanks for reading and commenting.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on June 18, 2021:

This is beautifully crafted and well expressed. I loved reading all your poems, heartfelt, with deep sentiments. Loved your pictures.

A nice tribute to your father. No one can take the place of the parents, for the selfless love and affection, they have for their children.

I have always admired John’s creativity, and versatility. No wonder you found your inspiration through his work.

Brenda is an inspiration too, and I admire her spontaneity.

Thank you for sharing this beautiful post!

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on June 18, 2021:

Rodric...

That will be fine.

Just put my name beneath my words.

~ Brenda Arledge

I'm so glad you liked my comment, but I really didn't plan on it being a poem.

You may use if you like.

Rodric Anthony Johnson (author) from Surprise, Arizona on June 18, 2021:

Brenda, your comment, which read like a poem, I appreciate. I appreciate the time you took to write it and the words you used to express your thoughts. It was a poem. I want to include your words in the article as a part of an additional poem.

Rodric Anthony Johnson (author) from Surprise, Arizona on June 18, 2021:

Misbah, I am glad you enjoyed the poem. Thanks for the compliments. I use out-of-date photos just in case my kids cry "foul!"

Rodric Anthony Johnson (author) from Surprise, Arizona on June 18, 2021:

John, I am watching you. You help me "up" my game in poetry. I need to make it to the next level and study different types of poetry.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on June 18, 2021:

Rodric

It's sad that there were so many miles in between, but I'm glad you did get to visit your Dad.

Your poem "Father's Day Season" is touching.

Nervously awaiting to see & hear your dad. Building that bond together on those visits.

Listening & knowing to obey his old school mannerisms.

Accepting him just the way he is...for he is your Father.

Sadly you say goodbye without being able to make the trip.

You carry him with you waiting to join him again one day.

Sorry you are missing your mother also.

I'm glad he instilled some good values into your life.

Your acrostic poem is great.

It is amazing how we can see the resemblance of our parents in our children.

You have described this well.

Love the pics.

So glad you have been inspired by John Hansen and myself.

Great writing.

Rodric Anthony Johnson (author) from Surprise, Arizona on June 18, 2021:

Bill, thanks for sharing. I like to think that my kids will think of me fondly when I'm gone. Your father's wisdom is reflected in some of your writings, all of them possibly.

I think about what my kids will remember of me. I remember my father telling me to always respect my mother. I've taken that into my marriage telling my kids the same thing.

I have brothers and sisters from my father who love their mothers because of his counsel. He might have been a rolling stone, but he left a trail of goodness that followed him along the path he rolled.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on June 18, 2021:

It's a shame he never saw his grandkids, but at least you were able to reconnect. This is a lovely remembrance. I think so much of my dad, often, almost daily, and miss him terribly, even after 50+ years after his passing. Memories are all we are left with, my friend, so we need to cherish them.

Misbah Sheikh from The World of Poets on June 18, 2021:

I like all of your poems, Rodric. That's a super bravo response to Brenda's Prompt, Memories plus a grand tribute to your father. I wish and pray that may his soul rest in peace. John Hansen is a source of inspiration for many of us here. I liked your father's advice to always respect your mother. Lovely photos. Thanks for sharing.

Blessings!!

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on June 18, 2021:

Thanks for that Rodric. Yes, it is a challenge to find correct words to fit the story and rhyme etc, but challenges are what improves us, and you did well.

Rodric Anthony Johnson (author) from Surprise, Arizona on June 18, 2021:

John, thanks. I realize that I spelled your name incorrectly in my article. I apologize for that. I will fix it. I dearly appreciate you reading my poem and commenting. It means so much to me. After hearing the meter in song form, it really set me in motion. It is so hard to get the words to fit into the story you want to tell, which is the beauty of it.

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on June 18, 2021:

Rodric, you did a terrific job in following my lead with that rhymes scheme and metre. Well done, the poem was great. The acrostic was good as well. It is good to read each other's memories.

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