Hello, everyone! One of my big goals as I begin my second year of blogging is to host more guest bloggers. My first guest is my Dad, Everett Bullock.
Born in 1939 in Southern Illinois, he has to his credit full retirement from the U.S. Army, including time in Viet Nam during the Tet Offensive. Also to his credit: the ability to dance the Charleston on roller skates when he was a teenager (I have no video proof, but I do trust him on this).
He and my Mom will celebrate their 54th wedding anniversary on November 29th. That’s to their credit–good job, guys!
Also, he’s a terrific Dad–loving and present. I know I learned a lot of what I know as a writer and thinker from him–you’ll see why, below.
(And, just so you know, if you’re concerned after reading the poem & commentary, he’ll be surrounded by family and love on Thanksgiving AND after–it’s a huge reason I lured my parents up to Spring Green, so I can bother them ALL THE TIME at their house.)
Happy Thanksgiving everyone, and without further ado, here’s my Dad’s post:
Amateur writers of prose or poetry often hesitate to put words on paper or in their computer. At times it is because of a lack of confidence in their ability, and other times we literally cannot think of anything to write. For better or worse, there are also occasions when our emotions, dreams, or nightmares reduce our ability to think clearly and write sensibly. Several years ago, members of my family departed after a Holiday visit, and I experienced a period such as this. I could not think of any cause for my feeling or any means for moving out of it. After suffering for a few hours, I started trying to write, planning to draft a poem or a paragraph or two that might clarify my problem. The attached poem was the result, finished several hours and days later. It was a relief to finish it, and I buried it with my other treasures for some time.
I must have done a poor job of burial, as the poem would come to mind every time a family member or friend would depart after a visit. I finally excavated the poem and tried to improve it. I had no success. I found that every time I read the poem, it caused me to miss those who were gone and caused me to think of how I might let them know how much I cared for them the next time they visited. While I have improved greatly, I am still less open about my caring than I should be, and I still seek out the poem to consider the empty house, empty of life, love, caring, or passion. May those who read this poem reach out to their loved ones before they depart and be sure to let them know of your love before their departure. There is no guarantee you will be able to do this at the next visit.
November 18, 2012
Unseen Shadows and Unheard Echoes
Now the house sits quietly, with feeling.
The chairs are in their places, empty.
The floors are bare and clean.
Tables are loaded with empty space.
In the dim corners, latent shadows stir,
stretch, and observe without blinking,
present, but not present,
old dust undisturbed.
The walls push faint noises from
one room to the next, pausing,
while silence catches up and passes,
leaving faint echoes.
Outside, the flowers nod with approval
as the grass straightens.
Trees hold their own conversation
with large, slow gestures.
The wind seeks familiarity,
Examining with gentle fingers,
passing with kind rejection,
continuing its search.
The fence sturdily fences out,
and fences in,
providing a beginning
and an end.
The house is still,
And waits patiently
for decay or use,
secure but empty.