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Stanzas for My Dad on Father’s Day

June 17, 2015

 

NOTE: As a writer, my greatest challenge is capturing the essence of my remarkable dad in a poem or memoir. My second greatest challenge is writing about a holiday (such as Father’s Day) in a fresh and innovative way. Now that I am retired from full-time teaching, I have more time to work on addressing these writing challenges. On Flag Day of this year, I tried to meet these writing challenges with the following poem. After this first lengthy poem, you will find the very short acrostic poem which I posted for Father’s Day of 2014.

 

 

Stanzas for My Dad on Father’s Day

 

(Dedicated with love to James F. Massa, 1913-1997)

 

 

by his daughter Alice Jane-Marie Massa

 

 

Three weeks before Father’s Day,

the commercials begin

to remind me of Father’s Day

and your absence,

not your presence;

yet, after these 18 years of your absence,

I still think of presents

to give to you

for your years of fatherhood.

In 1947,

you first became a father.

From 1950 to 1997,

you were my father–

and still you are my father–

forever father,

who wanted to give me the world,

but your love and devotion were more,

my gifts from you then and always.

 

Now, what presents can I give to you?

Cut flowers in red, white, and blue

upon your tombstone,

engraved with your favorite hummingbird

and the irises of our home?

Can I give you these stanzas,

these words from my heart

for your all too short

fifty years of fatherhood,

84 years of life?

What can I give to you

when I know you still give to me?

 

Gently and melodiously,

the coos of the mourning dove

sing your presence.

I hear you

in this mourning dove.

I have felt you

in a breeze

against my face.

When I needed an answer from you,

that day at the post office,

I asked a stranger

what number was on

my waiting-in-line slip.

“Eighty-four,”

the stranger replied.

Quiet tears filled my eyes

because I knew that you–

forever age eighty-four–

had given me an answer,

had found a way

to tell me

in solid black and white

that all will be well.

I keep that numbered slip–

eighty-four–

in the wallet

your grandson made for me.

That slip of post office paper

reminds me

that if I really listen

and am aware,

you,

as ever,

are always there

and here for me:

you still give me your presence

more

than I can give you presents

of everlasting gratitude

in these three words:

Happy Father’s Day!

 

 

The Tender of Our Family Tree:

 

Honoring My Dad on Father’s Day

 

(An Acrostic Poem in Loving memory of James F. Massa, 1913-1997)

 

by his daughter Alice Jane-Marie Massa

 

 

NOTE: Joining together the initial letter of each line of this very short poem spells the word “father.”

 

 

Forever Father, you planted a beautiful family tree–

 

Always nurturing, always there, always trusty.

 

Tender-hearted Dad, are you looking down, watching me?

 

Hat ever-present (your trademark), slightly askew–

 

Everlasting memories bring your smile and you back to me.

 

Refresh, dear Dad, our family tree on your day–each Father’s Day–and always.

 

 

God bless all the fathers on our family tree and your family tree, also!

 

Wishing my Wordwalk readers a blessed and Happy Fathers’ Day,

Alice and Zoe

 

POST-SCRIPT: Happy Birthday to my OLDER sister and to my Uncle Jules!

 

June 17, 2015, Wednesday

 

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5 Comments
  1. What a beautiful tribute to your Father. It reminded me that my father passed away at the exact same age as I am right now. He has been *away* now for nearly 27 years, but always at home in my heart.

  2. Alice.

    Your love for your father reminds me greatly about the love I feel towards mine. I am so fortunate to have both parents with us still, but most of all, I am most fortunate to have had a wonderful man to guide me through my entire life. Give thanks for the memories my dear, and thank you for the most recent stroll through mine.

    dp

  3. Thank you for your birthday wishes, Alice. Your expressions of love and devotion to our dear dad are beautifully written. We are blessed to have been his daughters!
    Love, Mary

  4. Carole permalink

    Yes, you and Mary were truly blessed! He was also a wonderful uncle who was dear to my heart!
    And . . . Happy Birthday on Father’s Day to our son Jason!

  5. Fran Rayce permalink

    Dedicated fathers are indeed a gift beyond measure. How fortunate we are to have had such men in our lives, even if for not long enough.

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