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