|Bernard F. Chandler, Sr. and Catherine Chandler, Father's Day, 1951|
Father's Day 2013 will be my first without my father's physical presence on Earth. Our last words to each other were, "I love you." Below is a poem I wrote for him and gave him several years ago for Father's Day. I have made revisions: some verbs are now in the past tense.
The poem is entitled "Hush", a word which has several meanings. In the poetic sense, it is a tranquil silence. As a verb, it can mean to calm, to soothe, or to become quiet or quieter. My poem uses these definitions, but also a third meaning. In mining terms, "to hush" is to run over the ground to erode the soil, thus revealing the underlying strata and valuable minerals.
My father was a quiet man who knew
from early childhood that the universe
could be a place of blessing or of curse;
and sensing that no blustering ado
would change it, he would stash the leaden truth
out of my reach, my comprehension. He
instead became my lifetime guarantee,
my Galahad, the hero of my youth.
I do not dream of diamonds anymore,
I've never chanced upon a pot of gold,
my ruby slippers seek a trail gone cold.
But it was different then. Despite the roar
of chaos that below the heavens swirled,
his hush unearthed this precious, priceless world.