For Dad

I wrote this for my brothers and sisters last July when we gathered at my sister’s cottage in Ontario to spread our father’s ashes. He had died the previous October and this was to be our final, group farewell to the man we called Dad. Like him, it isn’t perfect, but I think it captured who he was pretty well.

Here goes:

Dad
he loved licorice all-sorts
and off-coloured jokes.
he loved a girl named Sheila.
and his eight brothers and sisters,
though he did once tie them to chairs.
he liked crossword puzzles, Tim Hortons coffee and McDonalds.
he said things
like “pass the salt and pecker” at the dinner table and
we’d snicker and giggle
while mom gave him ‘the look’.
he loved walking and riding his bike.
he was an explorer.
he took us through abandoned farm houses when we were kids;
loved getting us all in the car just to go for a ride.
to this day I love doing that, too — going
for a ride with no real destination in mind.
it’s the journey and the togetherness that matters;
that was his lesson.
oh, and it’s okay to share a bag of chips and a pop
with your brother or sister.
he told stories — some true, some half-true and
some just plain fantasy — but they were all enthralling.
he loved people, and though he pretended to hate
some of them some of the times,
his big heart always betrayed him.
he could be infuriating, embarrassing,
and exasperating.
he never apologized
for who he was,
and that is a rare and noble thing.
not many in this world are strong enough
to be who they are.
he loved the eight of us — Kathy, Tracy,
Duane, Scott,
Shawn, Lori,
Carey and Jennifer.
and though he could, at times,
be tough on us, he could also
be incredibly soft.
he never had much
in the way of material things,
I remember a pair of alligator skin cowboy boots,
and he loved the 12 string guitar his brother Stewart
made for him,
but, really, that was about it.
in the end, and yes, this is a cliche,
it’s not about how much stuff you have,
it’s about how much love you have
and how much love you’ve given.
Dad,
we miss you.
I wish I had told you that more when you were with us,
but, there’s no sense in having regret,
something else you taught us.
I only hope you know how much you are loved
and that to us
you are everything.

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Feeling like a poem on a Sunday morning

 

 

20180915_132835Nothing Lasts

by

Kathy Larson

Nothing lasts.
Not
That feeling.
The one that made you feel invincible,
incredible,
indomitable.
Not
That moment.
The one where love made all things possible,
all things exquisite,
and so
beautifully, terrifyingly painful.
Not
That breath.
The gasp that filled your lungs
with hope,
with longing,
with fear they’d burst you were so happy.
Not
That laugh.
The one you felt would always mean
joy,
acceptance,
a feeling of forever.

Nothing lasts.
Not
That despair.
The darkness that stole everything worth having:
the joy,
the light,
the love.
Not
That sadness.
The one that drained your life of
colour,
of music,
and of magic.
Not
That emptiness.
The void that made you hate your self:
your skin,
your every breath,
your right to be.
Not
That failure.
The one that was
infinitesimal,
not ruinous,
and judged so solely by you.

Nothing lasts.
Unless
You
Choose
To
Make
It
© 2018

 

Raven Speak — a poem

bird birds usa raven
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I heard some peculiar sounds outside near my balcony yesterday and went to investigate. It was a family of ravens on the neighbouring balcony. Mom and Dad were out with their teenagers — and the young ones, especially one of them was really unsure of him/herself. It was wobbling back and forth on the banister and making the most worried sounds. I stood and watched them for awhile. The young one would sidle up to one of its parents and seem to demand something from them — most likely food, but I thought it was maybe seeking reassurance. Mom and Dad stuck close, but ignored all the whining. Eventually, they coaxed their baby into flying off, but not before there was a lot more complaining and nuzzling and attention seeking.

Ravens, I think they’re fascinating creatures.

I wrote the following poem earlier this year and submitted it to a local magazine. It wasn’t selected for publication, and I’ve tweeked it a bit, but seeing that family yesterday prompted me to share it.

I hope you like it.

 

 

Kathy Larson                                                                                                      ©2018

 

 

 

Raven Speak

 

Clork? Clork?

They chitter and chatter

Amongst themselves,

Quorkel. Quorkel.

At times,

Voices

Soft and gentle.

Quirrel? Quirrel?

Where were you?

Let me see.

Are you all right?

Grak! Grak!

Leave me alone!

Stay away!

I hate you!

Crah! Crah! Crah!

Death-black wings unfold.

Beaks like scythes slash.

Don’t come back!

So ungrateful!

Kraw! Kraw!

Oh, who cares?

I was going anyway.

There are better places

Than this.

Than here.

Chirrip. Chirrip.

Please, oh, please.

I’m sorry.

I want to stay.

Please? May I?

Gleergle? Gleergle?

We love you.

We’re sorry.

Come.

Sit.

Feel the sun?

Warm on your back?

Chrrgle. Chrrgle.

There now.

We’re okay.

 

A poem for today

I’m supposed to be working on a short story submission, but I got looking through my old poetry. I really like this one. Blackie was such a good dog. And I still miss her.

 

Blackie

©Kathy Larson

 

She was our first, and only, family dog.

We got her from the SPCA,

A little ball of black and tan fur.

Our son, for whom the puppy

Would be a companion and also

‘life lessons,’ named her:

Blackie Bear Rosa, a mouthful, for sure,

But he couldn’t settle on just one,

So we laughed and said why not?

Within days she became just ‘Blackie’;

It was the name her ears perked up to.

This puppy, who would eat with her

Back legs waving in the air made us laugh,

Made us glad to buy chew toys and treats

And special dog blankets and an old fashioned

Wind-up clock that we wrapped inside a baby

Blanket to keep her quiet and comforted at night.

While she was little she held our son’s attention,

But as with most ‘family’ pets, she soon became

Mine.

And I loved her, utterly and completely.

She was my companion on the days waiting

For the school bus to bring our boy back,

She took me on long, soul-searching walks,

Walked me out of depression, walked me out of

Walking out.

For fifteen years she was part of us and when

We had to take her in and put her to sleep

Part of me went with her.  I cried for weeks after.

Walking in the door expecting the pit-pat, pit pat

Of her coming to greet me, or waking in the night,

Sensing her still there, at the side of my bed,

Dropping my hand down to touch emptiness.

All that remained was a lighter spot on the carpet

Where her rug had lain for all those years.

In time, the pain lessened, but not the loss.

Now, I remember her as a dear friend,

Visit her in photo albums, and, on occasion,

When we’re all together, say, “Do you remember when. . .?”

 

Memories

Back in 2009 I took part in a poem a day challenge.  It was a lot of fun and a great writing exercise. I love poetry; though I don’t read nearly enough of it, and I write even less.

It’s a blah, mid-April day here in the Fort today.  For some reason this poem popped up in my memories.

pexels-photo-358160.jpeg

 

Water Tower, Niagara-on-the-Lake
Kathy Larson

©April 5, 2009

We’d see it as Dad rounded the corner on to John Street:
Unimaginably tall, bluer than the sky,
Thrillingly extra-terrestrial.
We’d all cheer and he would tell us to be quiet;
I’ll turn this damn car around right now, he’d growl,
And we’d hush, but we knew he wouldn’t.
Still, the threat was there. He was tired, who knew?
Mom, quiet beside him, readying to face her parents,
Another one of us added to her brood.
Us, squirming in the back on scratchy ‘Corinthian leather’,
Three days packed in mid-summer heat.
Endless games of “I-spy” and learning to hate Charlie Pride,
Conway Twitty and Connie Francis.
Always, someone would pee their pants,
Though they tried hard not to,
But Dad wouldn’t stop, and then, he would.
To late. We learned, over time,
To cover for one another,
Whispering: Watch for the water tower.
The promise of cousins, roasted corn and a trip to Pepe’s
Along magnolia-shaded streets could make us forget anything.
Tell us the story about Man’o’War again, Mom, we’d plead,
And she would, thrilling us all with a fearless girl-child vision of herself
Weaving between the legs of this mythical beast.
Grandpa, proud, terrified, calling her softly to him
As stable hands trembled, witnesses to the unbelievable.
He was a nice horse, she’d say, I knew he would never hurt me.
Then Dad would start in with his stories
Of the famous Indian braves, Falling Rock and Sharp Shoulders.
Along the way we’d get tales of the princesses Ida Know and Who-me.
Somehow, the miles melted away, ‘til, despite the fighting,
The stories, the laughter, the crying and the ‘claw’,
The water tower loomed before us
Promising sanctity,
Delivering us unto heaven.

 

June 5th – June 11th

Days 157 – 163 — Quite a long stretch, this one.  I’ve been down and out with a flu/cold for the past 5 days.  Prior to that is was a much needed un-wind from CUPE business.

So, to recap the last five days:

Me and My Flu

Fever, chills.  Sore throat.
Achey muscles, achey joints,
hacking, coughing, sweating,
rinsing, gargling,
popping pills, lemon,
ginger, honey, shivering,
sleeping, tossing, turning,
cursing, flailing.
Doctor, drugs —
Now, hopefully,
recovery.