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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Father (as in paternal parent, not God) (04/10/08)

TITLE: January 15th, 12 Noon
By Angeline oppenheimer
04/16/08


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In the stark room,
The drip silently courses down
Oblivious
Huddled ashen faces
Surround my dad
A shadow lurking inside crumpled gown.

His mouth forms words
That have no syllabus
He gesticulates for pen and paper
As many hands scramble
Ears pressed near to steal
Final thoughts
Still, sounds tumble clumsily
Without meaning, without words.

A tear slides down
Merges with his frantic hands
Before they grow still
Faces dripping with floods
Of pain, shame
As the afternoon bowl of congee
Turns cold and lame.

Quietly, he goes
Silent words freezing on his lips
As his heart goes on beating after his breathing ceases
Beating a silence that deafens
Of the one I never knew
Of the one I ignored and endured
Of the one I wanted so much to go away
And now that he has, my heart aches

What does he want to say?
Never one for many words
Scarce words that demand
Absolutes, no in-betweens.
Words that taunt and hurt
He has hurled some
Words that splinter into shivers
Words that breed hatred
Words that tear him apart
Straining the limp strand that defines
His being, his worth, his existence.

He leaves behind a hundred dollars
My portion comes up to six dollars and some
A legacy of pain that will never heal
A slighted dad?
If I had eyes of Jesus
To penetrate the rough angry exterior
To see a heart beating with love
Amidst the angry roar of words
Desperate breakers of a father’s love
Well wishes caught in nettles of nuances
Gone astray.

That afternoon
As the shadows lengthen over the window sill
Over the silent set mouth in a face worn out
By human failings
A tear falls
In the wilderness of my being
My heart was too puny
To decipher his language of love.
Until now….


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This article has been read 515 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 04/17/08
Oh my, those last 3 lines are beautiful, and I did not expect them. Lots of transparent emotion in this poem, beautifully written.
Ladonna Sweet04/17/08
wonderful poem, brought tears to my eyes, well written.
Tim Pickl04/17/08
Amazing writing. At the end, that moment of clarity became a moment of charity.
Fiona Dorothy Stevenson04/19/08
How well your poem describes the effects of stroke, both in the time leading up to, and in the after-effects. So many times we don't understand what is happening inside someone else - the anger comes first, and the loss comes later. God bless you.
Patty Wysong04/22/08
So much emotion here...very well done. The ending is superb.
nicole wian04/23/08
A moving, beautiful poem.