I wrote “Pictures Assembled From Memory” for my Grandfather. I have heard it said that – “grief is the price we pay for loving someone.” I believe that statement and wouldn’t have it any other way. I keep memories close because they comfort me and make the loss bearable.
I have now written “Pictures Assembled From Memory II.” This version of the poem is for my Father. I have been mourning his profound loss this entire year. If grief is the price we pay for loving someone then poetry is how I make sense of that loss.
I have linked the original poem in this post and will be adding P.A.F.M. II here as well.
Pictures Assembled From Memory II – (For my Father)
A house is built with nails and screws,
carefully cut angles, the work of human hands.
He built us a home, day by day, with hard work, morals and an adherence ro.divine commands.
A house is built by nail and board,
a home is built lesson by lesson, giving, blessings poured.
I will always remember that house the most,
whose shape and style have changed so much,
but still our home,
now as much as then,
disassembled and rearranged.
(how much out lives have since been changed.)
Surrounded by trees and a now long gone fence, the deck out back, once his solace for watching birds, contemplating seasons.
(much later that place would be my solace – during that last summer, he declining and me not really understanding.)
That stove in the den,
glowing warm in winter nights,
how he would call from his chair,
whenever I.came through the door,
welcoming words and comfortable chairs,
then to talk of the past but still familiar times…
(so what’s doing? …How are the kids?…I found an article and thought you would find it interesring…)
I would love.to.sit around that dining room table once again,
eat the food prepared.for holidays and all those random Sundays,
from that table my parents built a lifetime of starts and stops and every beginning we ever had started there.
I can still see my younger brother learning to walk there,
I can see my brother enlist as a soldier with my parents looking on,
my oldest brother announcing the birth of his oldest son,
myself and my wife holding hands while studying,
then him paying bills and making calls until his days ended and now the descending silence.
(now I have a picture of all the flowers went in his honor, on the table, perfuming the entire house – A springtime tribute in the dead of winter.)
My children love this house and now their voices have joined the chorus of the other voices that being continuance to the silence of this space.
Those voices carry over the span of passing time and will never leave there, a constant galley of artistic styles and conversations contained in memories and smiling, still portraits, memorials to the virtues of this home.
I wish they could have grown up there under the watchful eye of the builder and all he had to give.
I carry all his lessons in my mind and I feel them in my heart.
I see them with my eyes and hear them with my ears,
retold in stories and painted memories seen in the twilight of days and the fire and rain or continued life,
like songs sung to a chorus of witnesses from an eternal place,
continued within the walls of that house, from then until now,
my memories are a part of the structure of that house and the home he built, day by day and blessing upon blessing.