Portrait of Father
I still can see him following the plow
And hear him singing as he mowed the hay.
(Its fragrant freshness lingers with me now.)
Though years have passed, it seems but yesterday
That he arose a little after four
To ride the range to bring the horses in.
Beloved old ballads floated through the door,
His voice in song, amid the farmyard din
That called us from our beds to milk the cows.
How eagerly we greeted each new morn
With varied challenge as a farm allows
Of hauling hay or grain or hoeing corn!
Blithe laughter was a comrade to our work
With wholesome praise. (What boy would think to shirk!)
He said, "My sons, of this earth we are kings
And potentates, and there is in the soil
The breath of life that pulsates as it sings
With living joy as we give honest toil."
His buoyant spirit was still immature
Enough to dream and make of every quest
That daily beckoned us with work's allure
As though each were a special privileged guest,
A journey to the land of dreams-fulfilled.
This journeying with him brought rich increase;
So now when his great father-heart is stilled
We know our work together cannot cease.
We love and understand him even more
And see him beckoning from that Far Shore.
The American Bard