I miss him most days.
Here’s something I wrote for his funeral:
I’ve known, I think since birth,
that my father knew everything.
Not that he cluttered his mind with sports scores
or directions to places he didn’t go often.
To the contrary, he knew only the most vital of bits
and these he shared with me generously:
how to load and use a rifle safely,
proper application of a semicolon,
operation of a motor vehicle in a drive-in parking lot,
the ability to identify seven different breeds of cattle,
the definition of the lyrics of Waltzing Matilda,
an appreciation of the world’s great literature (and the KIngston Trio),
how to use my mind,
to turn in a badly dealt hand and demand new cards,
a sense of history,
how to properly cook a turkey, a white sauce and French pancakes,
how to swear well and effectively,
the paths of the constellations,
a connection a with the earth and with time,
the merits of good sense and honesty,
and so much more.
I am, I think, one-fourth him, one-fourth my mother and half what I have accumulated on my own.
The divisions are not apparent.
He has said he fathered recklessly.
His recklessness is only one aspect of the man.
I love them all
and all of him.
He’s my dad.
The part of me that writes is a gift from him …
A Song of a Chela
I began to be when time began
And the Wheel of All began to spin
I am one the the One that has always been
I have lived my way through the seven worlds,
Coming, going, returning again,
In shapes and forms man cannot know
And in all that this world has seen come and go:
In the bodies of things in the slippery muck
And slime of the sea and the swamp,
In reptilian things with leather wings,
In sharp toothed, heavy limbed, truculent,
Dim brained beasts of the steamy lands
Before the Wheel had turned to man.
I have lived in trees and caves and castles,
An eater of berries, a killer of mammoth,
Slave and prophet, poet and king,
Harlot and hunter and priestess and warrior -
Whatever the Wheel in turning might bring.
I helped in creating Jehovah and Allah,
Brahma and Baal and those of Olympus;
I served in their temples and bled on their alters,
Tortured their martyrs and died in their names.
I have helped in the building of civilizations
And fought in the wars that returned them to dust.
I have learned all the wisdoms and done all the labors
And seen all the beauties and known all the lust.
I shall still be when time shall end
And the Wheel of All shall begin again;
I am one with the One that will never end.
~Amos Hanks, 1947