A Poem For My Father – In Remembrance

Yesterday, I saw a hearse parked in front of a funeral home, and I was reminded that while this is a quieter Christmas for me, so far, it’s not so for others.

I remembered the years after my dad died in his 60s (1983), and how young my mother was to be a widow.  She was an English professor; literature and faith sustained her. 

This poem, which I posted here in the first month of this blog, inspired my mother to display a young photo of my father.  So that’s what a poem can do! 


I taped up a picture of you
It must have been your last
Healthy Christmas–long overdue,
But you understand
I know you do.

And I’m up early to have some
Time alone before teaching, too
And I understand even more now
You know I do.

Mom’s doing better now…
She told me how you stood
Between two railroad cars
All the way from Washington D.C.
To Chicago after World War II.

And I’m teaching my heart out
Giving essay tests, too
Pouring out my soul
Like you used to do.

It’s Christmas again, and I
Taped up a picture of you
I’m writing poems and
Taking walks–doing fine
But missing you
Has not ceased with time.

Published first in MIdwest Poetry Review; July, 1993.
Image courtesy of Dover Publications.  Free sample from Birds.
Dad would like the idea of free samples!

8 thoughts on “A Poem For My Father – In Remembrance

    1. Dear Margie, Blessings to you as you remember your Daddy. I found a painting of my dad by an artist in Chicago in 1942. Hung it in this room recently. Thank you for your kind words, as always. Ellen


  1. Really beautiful, Ellen. Have been thinking a lot lately about how we are moving now into our parents shoes. Understanding more of what they were and weren’t, of what we are and aren’t.
    Thanks for sharing,


  2. I sometimes think that poems that light up with fireworks and delve into the mysteries of life are the best poems, but then other times I know the best poems are ones that reach universal truths and speak from the reality, dignity, wonder, tragedy, fear, beauty of human life. This is obviously of the second kind, and, at the moment, this is my favorite kind.


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