Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Thank-you Note

Dear Teresa:

At dinner, with butter pecan ice cream and your pizzelles,

We gave the Old Year its send-off.

All the while, memory of my father crowded my heart,

How he would sit at our kitchen table

Just a week or so before Christmas,

Feeding the pizzelle iron with golden batter. 

The batter, some of it leaking out, sizzled when he closed the lid.

When each pizzelle was baked, oh so gently he would lift it from the iron

And add it to the others on a cooling rack.

When they had cooled sufficiently, he stacked them in towers on a plate.

Then, smiling, he would offer them out to us,

Who, like hungry urchens, gobbled them up.

As I bit into your pizzelles last night, Teresa, 

I pictured the boy he must have been, this beloved Daddy of mine,

Walking and working the family fields in Sant' Alessio,

Fishing in the fiume near by, 

Trodding off over Tuscan hills to school,

Two or three books, perhaps bound by leather strap, 

slung over his young shoulder.

Oh, Teresa, do you see?

Your pizzelles, delicious as they were, were so much more.

They were memories sweet with longing for a father long gone,

A father still mourned, who had filled our every days

With his labors of love for us.

Thank you, Teresa, for the pizzelles.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Angry Wind

The wind in anger
flings garbage can-lid missiles
into the wild night

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Walking Lake Erie at Cedar Point

Young and foolish, we walked the frozen lake.

We did it on a bet.

What kind of stupidity did it take?

What could have resulted in heartache

is the nightmare I dream of yet.

Young and foolish, we walked the frozen lake.

Even now the memory makes me shake

with a terror I can't forget.

What kind of stupidity did it take?

Too late we realized the folly of our mistake,

the enormity of life's threat.

Young and foolish, we walked the frozen lake

And treading gingerly now to not tempt fate,

we wondered with minds fraught with regret,

what kind of stupidity did it take?

So at last for reason's sake

we turned back to where ice and shore met.

Young and foolish, we walked the frozen lake.

What kind of stupidity did it take?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Growth - Lillian: In Memory

Assignment: Write poem – about a situation, or a person – that can be made into a metaphor.

It sprouted new branches every day,
Polluting once healthy soil with roots of decay.
Its tentacles, spindly fingers of malicious reign,
Pursuing their deadly deed,
Reached out and choked with lightening speed
The functions of her once fertile brain.


I used to see him seated there

In his bedroom chair at prayer.

Daddy, shouldn't you kneel?

But he would shake his head.

The Lord knows I work hard the livelong day.

He doesn't mind that I rest when I pray.

Now in eerie, greenish light 

I see him again.

Daddy, you're back!

His smile is sad 

His face is gray.

Yes, I'm back, but I'm very weary.

I don't belong here anymore.

I cannot stay.

Then, aware, I awake,

And despite my pain,

I know that now it's time

To get on with my life again.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Daddy Comes Back

Poetry Assignment:  Remember a dream and describe a series of images from the dream 

The following dream came to me at least thirty-some years ago, but it is still vivid in my memory:

There is a greenish light emanating from my parents' bedroom.  I am in the hallway at the top of the steps leading up to their second floor.  

I peer into the bedroom, and see my dear father seated in the easy chair in their bedroom – the chair he used to sit in to say his night prayers.  (“The Lord knows I work hard and am tired at the end of the day,” he once explained to me when as a child I had asked him why he didn't kneel to say his prayers. “The Lord is just glad to hear from me,” he had said.  “He doesn't mind that I rest my weary bones while I talk to Him.”)

My father had been dead for several months at the time I had this dream, and in the dream, upon seeing him in his chair, I feel a lifting of the great weight that had been in my chest.  “Daddy, you're back!”  I say, and run into the room toward him.  

I see that his coloring is very gray.  He smiles at me, but it is a sad smile.  The weight in my chest comes back.

“Yes, I'm back,” he says, “but it's a mistake.  I am very, very tired!  I don't belong here anymore.”

Without any further word between us, I know he has to go back.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Linda Rules



Corner of Sycamore St. and Shiloh Avenue

Mt. Washington.

Spring, 1956


It gonna rain today, Mummy?

I think so, Honey.

I think so.

Mummy! It gonna rain today!

It is?

Yes, Mummy!  it gonna rain today.

We not go out today, Mummy?

No, I guess we won't go out today, Honey.

No, I guess we not go out today, Mummy.

I guess not, Honey

I guess not,.Mummy. 

No, Mummy!  We NOT go out today.

It not gonna rain today, Mummy?

I don't think it will rain today, Honey.

I don't think so.

Mummy!  I think it NOT gonna rain today

It's not?

No, Mummy!  It NOT gonna rain today

Well, then, Honey,shall we go out today?

Mummy!  We go out today!

So, okay, then!  We go out!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Oh, My Pappá!

Bouts of depression there had been some,
But when all's said and done,
Basically, Daddy was a happy man,
And therefore so were we.

Daddy, I was wont to say,
(when he tread upon my toes}
Excuse me, not oops
Is what one should say.

Then with impish grin
Va bene! he would say,
Scusa mi! ;Scusa mi!

Many and many a year
Has gone since he went away,
But as I grow old and older still
I miss him every day.