Drained


20190118_133629
Drained


Life asked too much of me today…

When I finally did sit down,
in silent exhaustion
the whole of me was aching,
inside and out
My determination had been battered
And my will was strewn about
The voice of all of my frustrations
left
too tired to shout

I had been drained by the day,
feeling tattered and torn
This day, took everything I had
And then greedily wanted more
My heart, left clinging to my sleeve
My soul, scattered on the floor

Endless hours, of one after another,
constantly knocking on my door

Yet, there was a calming sense of relief
A satisfaction of accomplishment
For having passed each test,
on the worst ‘just one of those days’
I rose up to every harsh challenge
I chose
all of the appropriate plays
I was exhausted, yet extremely alive,
proud of my self-sustaining ways

Life asked too much of me today…

Summoning everything that I had,
I found more than I knew I had to give
On days like these, we don’t get to choose
the life that we have to live

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Triathlon

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 Triathlon
I am not completely sure
if I am entitled to be,
or, really, if I’m even allowed
But, I am thoroughly impressed by you
And, dare I say,
I am extremely proud…

I watched you, in your controlled haste,
steadying, readying, and taking your place at the start
And then I noticed the cool and calm ease
with which you settled into the race
Then, somehow, you found the presence of mind
to look up, to find me, and even to wave
Before swimming, strong and steadily away,
from the huge smile you left on my face

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It seems that I’d completely underestimated
the strength and power of your stroke

as I arrived, too late to support you,
through your swim to bike transition
My own personal pride thoroughly jolted
by the sick emptiness in my stomach

My eagerness to video, thwarted,
by your speed, and your top five position

Yet, my whole heart went out there with you
as you spun your way through the winding course
I went up the hills with you, and then down,
my mind, racing along, despite what I couldn’t see
It was impossible for me to relax, or even to sit,
with all of the unknown, and all the anticipation
So I paced, anxiously, awaiting your arrival
as you pedaled your way back to me

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A contented relief flushed over me
as you braked, and then you touched ground
As you pushed your bicycle to your chosen spot,
I felt as much like your fan, as I was your friend
Despite my pent up angst, and energetic love,
I knew I had a very small window to speak
Time enough to cheer you, and to reassure you,
and to tell you, that I’d find you near the end

As you switched your shoes, and turned to go
I noticed the game-face return to your glance
I’ve seen that will and determination before
It’s who you are, and in much that you do
As you ran out of sight, on your last leg,
I yelled more encouragement, in due haste
Wishing that my words could push you along
Hoping my spirit would run with you

As you emerged from the tunnel, weary legged,
nearing the last of your well of endurance,
your eyes seemed focused, intently on the task
Looking for anything that you had left inside
While you bravely ascended the final climb,
you amazingly found one final burst,
crossing the finish, alone with your fatigue
Soon to be joined by my burgeoning pride

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I stayed back, for a minute or two, purposely,
to simply observe, and to give you some space
And as I watched you, catching up to your breath,
I saw right then, what separates you from the crowd
It’s your personal investment, in all that you attempt
In my eyes, you’re resplendent, with all that you are
And in that moment, as you looked especially beautiful,
I could not have been more impressed or proud

Applause

Applause

I’ve been here many times,
as their childhood has flown past

Sitting alone in the crowd
smiling, and having a blast
A proud, dedicated single parent
gathering memories that will last

IMG_20130627_101615.jpg
She weaves her way through a defense

that had previously refused to yield
Deft footwork and bursts of speed
guide her down the field
I spring from the edge of my seat
as a late victory is sealed

My legs, energized by her exploit
My lungs, filled with a rush of air
An abrupt acknowledgment of her endeavor
as I quickly rise up from my chair
Emphatic words in a father’s approval
ecstatic to be right there

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I see my teenage powerhouse
as she tumbles across the floor
A round-off and a back handspring
My gasp, and then a perfect two more
An exalted, frightening, wonderful feeling
that resonates to my core

My stomach, churning when she jumps
My heart, leaping when she lands
The uniquely exhilarating anguish
that any parent understands
Proud, as I put down the camera
to free up my hands

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The impetus for my applause
Feats that constantly astound
No urge to look beside me
No need to look around
My two hands, together in the crowd
making their own sound


It seems to me that it’s a graceful gazelle
that suddenly emerges from the pack
Anticipating the exact moment
from my spot along the track
As she glides around the final curve
the others get further and further back

My mind, racing with her to the finish
My senses, tingling from the start
The extent of her accomplishments
matching the size of her heart
Knowing the work ethic and the effort
that always set her apart

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Being early gets me a good seat
Dead center, given the chance
Oblivious of my surroundings
I listen to her play, I watch her dance
Happily lost, inside of myself
My own choice, my soul circumstance

My eyes, no matter what her stage
My ears, for any of the bands
The selfish, singular focus
that any parent understands
Proud, as I put the program down
to free up my hands

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The inspiration for my applause
Daughters who constantly astound
No urge to look beside me
No need to look around
My t
wo hands, together in the crowd
making their own sound


Sitting alone, in the crowd

as each new season has passed
Thankful for each new memory
as time ticks by so fast
Never wondering, or worrying,
if this one will be the last

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Meeting

                                  Meeting 


I arrive with wine, and little apprehension

Entering your home, my worries are very few
Confident that you are kind, that you are genuine
because your wonderful daughter is a part of you


As I look around, a comfort settles over me
Instantly, I am at ease, and even more sure
We say our hellos and she squeezes my hand

Moments later she takes me on a tour

I see warm colours, and family photos
lovingly displayed, up and down the hall
Your own creations, and your creativity,
gracing each room, and on every wall

Crafty signs, stitch work, and oil paintings
Your personal touches, so easily found
Children and teens, newlyweds and grandkids,
all of your loved ones, leaning or hanging around

Tangibly vibrant, with a flick of each switch
The now and the then, brought to light
The young couple, handsome and pretty
Their beginning, framed, in black and white

We stroll through your memories, new and old,
The long journey of a husband and a wife
A visual journal, of his story and yours,
Room to room, so full of a life

As we join everyone in your living room
I look to you, straight across, sitting in a chair
Our glances meet, knowingly, for a moment
neither overly concerned, but both of us aware


Just as I had hoped, with this important step,
I was adding perspective to my happy reality
But it was also tweaking my ongoing interest
with peoples’ grasps on their own mortality


I find myself staring, as we are having dinner

catching myself, just before you do
I am lost, inside my natural curiosity,
wondering about your point of view

I imagine what you might be thinking
Another Easter dinner, like any other year?
Are you blissfully oblivious to who is new,
and simply thankful that everyone is here?

Are you thinking about who is missing,
a little sad, and reminiscent as you look around?
Or are you soaking in the whole atmosphere
Every familiar sight, every happy sound?

Your grandchildren, all talking excitedly
That perfect mix of exuberance and loud
The smiles of three uniquely beautiful daughters
Your constant smile, telling me you are proud

Your living legacy, right here before you
Those most important, just being themselves
A vital portrait of your loving family
brought down from off the shelves

Your smile subsides only when you speak
Voice cracking, behind the few words you say
You seem quietly content, at the head of the table
as I gradually get to know you, on this April day


Everyone slowly heads towards the door,
saying thank-you and exchanging good-byes
I see your expression change, ever so slightly,
a
s a twinge of melancholy forms in your eyes

Dinner

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Dinner

I will raise a glass tonight
and drink to you.
Red wine with dinner
or, perhaps, a cold beer.
I will imagine,
as I sometimes do,
what it would be like
if you could still be here.

The wonderful comfort
of a family gathering.
A backyard barbecue
or, perhaps, a dinner out.
I will remember,
as I often do,
all the little things
that this life is about.

The simple satisfaction
of a table set for many.
Candles on a birthday cake
or, perhaps, an apple pie.
I will look around,
as I usually do,
feel extremely fortunate
and know exactly why.

Tonight, I will say a few words
in honour of you Norm.
Break bread with your granddaughters
and, perhaps, toss a salad in a bowl.
Sit at the head of the table,
as I proudly do,
as a kind and giving father 
content in his role.
—————
You would be eighty-five today,

if you were with us.
There is one less table setting
so, perhaps, you are not.
But we celebrate you today,
as we always will,
because this birthday meal
gives us food for thought.

 

Guiding

                             Guiding10259702_886031944756408_4006322937612843549_n

I have never been a religious person
What I do believe in is the spirit of love
I believe that there are guiding spirits
who are shining down from above

I know that my mother is one of mine
That she has guided me along my way
That she helped me to raise my girls
That she is smiling on this day

You must be proud of your granddaughters, Mom
The one you held, and the one you never knew
They are beautiful and funny and they are genuine
They are both a lot like you

They approach life with respect and emotion
With the same honest heart that you had
With the same love and embrace for family
The same priorities that you taught their Dad

There is much of the best of you to find in them
Every year, more and more that I can see
And because of who they already are
I know that you are proud of me

Happy Mother’s Day
…and thank-you.

 

Weiland

 Weiland
Certain impressions

Cemented imprints
  Moments, that always
  Will remain with me.
Stamps of clarity
Distinct interpretations
Times, to never forget
That only I may see.

A concert among many
A smallish venue
Dedicated patrons
Pressed against the gates.
At that precise instant
I saw it in his eyes
The sure realization
The nod to his mates.

He knew he had us
The right people
Pleased to meet us
At one with his crowd.
With each familiar track
We rose to the occasion
To a body of work
That made him proud.

Belying his frailty
Gaunt and ashen
Worn down by the life
And wearing the age.
The consummate showman
Doing his thing
The slightest of figures
Commanding the stage.

I remember it vividly
The crispness of the performance
Struck by the energy
The electricity, the pace.
Tight and professional
The purity of the music
The megaphonic intensity
The smile on his face.

The wail of the guitar
Meandering behind his words
The roar of the crowd
As the last note sustained.
All had been sung and done
Two plus hours invested
The whole band as one
Fully and entirely drained.

Standing, arm in arm
Having given their all
Drenched in their art
Soaking in our applause.
 Recognizing the enormity
Of our live experience
 Spent on the stage
Entirely, and just because.

RIP

 

Remembered

Remembered

   I had a dentist appointment on Thursday. After I had parked my car I looked down at the ticket, and I remembered. 
   I felt a wave of anxiety come over me as I realized just where I was, and on what day. 
   I remembered, and I paused for a moment, before going up those stairs.
   I remembered, in a haze, as I sat, quiet in the dental chair.
I remembered many things in a rush of cold reality.

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I remembered that it was September the 10th.

I remembered that it was the date he died.
I remembered, thinking how fast that two years had gone by.

I remembered that this was where he had his fall.
I remembered getting the phone call at work.
I remember seeing him later that day at my sister’s.
I remembered how battered and bruised he was.
I remembered how shocked we were that he was released from emergency.
I remembered how proud and how stubborn he was.
I remembered just how much that I missed him.

I remembered two heart wrenching weeks in the hospital. 
I remembered the dedication of Dorry.1174411_721955574497380_563150802_n
I remembered the strength and humour of Gerry.
I remembered the seesaw of conversations with Tim.
I remembered the innocent sincerity of Anna and Erin.
I remembered the love and support, and soft hands of Lana.

I remembered his amazing comeback.
I remembered his helpless confusion.
I remembered when we decided to let him go.
I remembered saying goodbye.
I remembered picking out a casket.


I remembered dinner the night before the funeral
I remembered the breathtaking sky above Lake Huron.
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I remembered all of us staying at the same hotel.
I remembered the stories and drinks, smiles and tears.

I remembered what I wrote for the graveside.
I remembered that Lana had to read it for me.
I remembered my girls holding each of my hands.

I remembered, smiling, that Alec was there too.
I remembered people leaving for the airport.
I remembered saying goodbye.

I remembered looking back as we drove out of town.

As I stepped down from the chair, our dentist Dave, I am sure unaware of the date or circumstances, asked me to “say hi to the girls” for him…and he said, “I miss having your father Norm come to see me”.
Again I paused, and he knew just how much that meant as his eyes caught mine.
“Me too Dave.”  I closed the door behind me.

Sixteen

                       SIXTEEN

As I began to write this for youIMG_20150301_191535[1]
I knew only one place to start
In the bottomless well of pride
That lies deep within my heart

On this occasion, especially
As you turn sixteen today
I find my thoughts are flowing
I find it’s easy for me to say

Just how proud I am of you
Of who you have come to be
The exceptional person you are
And just how much that I see…

I see a free and happy spirit
I can see that in any light
I see your limitless future
And I see that it is bright

I see your kindness and compassion
I see your sense of right and wrong
I see a breadth of inner beautySun for Every
That spans at least a mile long

I see your charm and contagious energy
I see your love for life, and I see joy
I see my rocking chair on the front step
I see an interview for every boy

I see your talents and ambition
I see your determination and your pride
I see that competitive beast inside you

That you find impossible to hide

I see your mom cheer when you compete
I also hear it, because she squeals
We both see just how fast you can run
But have no idea where you got the wheels

I see your creative way of thinking
I see your terrific sense of humour
I hear you like it when I purposely embarrass you
Though that may only be a rumour

I see and I cherish our mutual respect 
I see that as how it will always be
I see how often that we see eye to eyeblack-and-white-hd-wallpapers-4-comfort.jpg
Now that you’re the same height as me

I see how gracefully you adapt to change
I see it, because it has happened a lot
I see you smile, and just go with the flow
This may be the strongest strength you’ve got

I see you as a baby and I see you today
I see the sixteen years in between
I see myself richer for the experience
And I treasure all that I have seen

I see the day and year on the calendar
I see a terrific person, sitting right here
I see the same wonderful daughter
That I have seen every year

Legacy

       Legacy

Can you leave
a legacy behindIMG_20150113_154720[1]
When your
blood line
ceases?
When no one
still living
shares
your blood?


No children

and wife gone
Ninety-three years
in this world 
Simple facts
for a simple man

Extraordinary 
perhaps not
But look closer
to find

Certain details
of this life


Married for

fifty-seven years
Partners in life-149309_ORIGINAL
for sixty
Alone for his
last fifteen

Literally worked in
the old salt mine
Yet still found
the resolve
Yet still found
the time

Served his nation
in World War II
Decorated for
his bravery
Liberating France
from Nazi ruleIMG_20150113_154846[1]

Volunteer fireman
Chief for years
Legion executive
Charity work
Loving husband
Friend to many


Proud and kind

small town man
Always a smile
in his eyes
Always a kind word
to say

You could see
his happiness
Always could sense
his ease 
You can recognize
his place


The long lineimages
at the wake
proof

Tears of honour
beside the grave
evidence
Of a life
well spent

All that he had
to those of us
who mattered

His wife and
his memories
by his side…

The people
of his legacy

 

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