Category Archives: Gratitude

A Day to Rejoice!

I sat in my home recently, contemplating my blessings.  I could see quickly that they abound.  I felt to rejoice on that day and wrote this poem.  I thought it fitting to post the poem on Fathers Day.  I hope that you all find reasons to rejoice today and everyday.

A DAY TO REJOICE!

Today
is a day
to rejoice:
A Rejoicing Day!

Do you see
there
on that wall
those photographs
of young people who
consider
you their friend, who
trust
you with their hearts, who
love
you despite your imperfections, who
call after
you, papa, dada, pops,
smiling from their place
on that wall, who
forgive
you
today:
A Rejoicing Day!

What do you think of these
bratwurst,
tell me:
stadium brats,
beer brats,
smoked brats,
sweet Italians—grilled
on that Father’s Day grill
under flames leaping after dripping juice—
which do you like
best?
You like them all?
A Celebration Day!

No booby-trapped doors.
No roadside IEDs just waiting to rip off your limbs.
No bullets through your windows on a Sunday afternoon.
You can walk
to your church,
you can pray and sing
and lift your hallelujah hands to the heavens
and not get beheaded for it;
you can hold your grandbaby,
almost smiling,
and have
a reasonable hope
in her
prosperity and peace—
a reasonable hope.
Yes,
I declare it:
A Rejoicing Day!
A Rejoicing Day!!

Then
there
is
you:
your wrap-around hugs, tight,
your battalions of butterfly kisses, soft,
your letting go and letting God,
your dogged determination
to forgive
me.
I am permitted to dream,
am I not?
A Jubilation Day!

The sun shines.
The rain falls.
The garden grows its fruits.
The church steeple rises
toward the sun in heaven,
rises,
with your heart, in
a reasonable hope
that the world,
for all its cracks and chasms,
is a home worth living in
on this
Rejoicing Day!

 

(Note: parts of this poem are autobiographical; other parts are aspirational.)

Morning

20130724_164623

At a recent Thanksgiving Day after-dinner gathering of my extended family, my father expressed his tender feelings for my mother.  With tears in his eyes and voice tight with emotion, he told of gazing at her as she lay sleeping one morning, the suns rays streaming through the window, and feeling that he loved her with all his heart.  That is as it should be, I thought, and wrote this poem.

MORNING

Warm sun in winter
hurtles white-capped
peaks and rushes through
wide windows
to halt and hover
over a head of tousled white
hair, aged, peaceful
upon her pillow.

To Say Thank You

 

 

Harvey 2015

How does one say thank you to a road, to a strip of dirt and gravel?  Yet that road is the main character, the protagonist, of Rabbit Lane: Memoir of a Country Road.  So, I must unequivocally thank Rabbit Lane itself for every gift bestowed to me over the years: calm, insight, resolution, understanding, beauty, history, and healing.  And for the gift of this book.  I also thank all of the people listed below who are mentioned in, or who contributed to, this book.

Angela Baker, my wife, and our children Brian, Erin, Laura, John, Caleb, Hyrum, and Hannah.  My parents Nelson and Lucille Baker.

Harvey “Two Suns” Russell (pictured above; photo credit: Mary Russell) and Mary Russell.  Cloyd Russell.  Rocky Russell.  Three Native American sundance chiefs whose names I never knew.

20150216_153750

(Harvey Russell and Roger Baker)

Austin Barrus and Mary Barrus.  Cordale Gull.  Ron and Mary Norris, and Carly Gressman.  Craig Vorwaller.  Evan Coon.

Charley Warr and Judy Rydalch Warr.  Charley’s mother Nina Vorwaller Warr.  Charley’s great-grandfather Charles Warr.  Mayla Warr.  Doyle “Doc” Taylor.

Shirley Weyland and Lucille Weyland Rydalch.  Joe Liddell.  Dempsey Prichard (sp?).

Mathew Reza Arbshay.  Bobak, Anahita, and Deeba Arabashahi.  D. Brent Rose.  Mrs. Kastanis and her three children.  Bob Morgan.  Joe McNall.  Ben Court.

I want especially to thank my faithful friend Carl Johanson, and his wife Claudia Giron Johanson, who gave me both a place and a reason to live during the darkest hours of my life.  It was in this empty house that I assembled the finished manuscript for this book.

20140126_091639

Carl called my writing room my Walden Pond, which compliment greatly lifted my spirits and helped me believe in myself and that I was capable of writing the book.

20140309_101018

20140312_210905

20140309_101009

Thanks, lastly, to all of YOU for reading.  A book without readers is mere paper and ink.

Little Baby (Lullaby)

Brian, my firstborn, suffered typical colic from about six weeks to about six months of age, always beginning at 6:00 p.m., it seemed.  A second year law student (and struggling with the stresses of law school), I frequently paced the living room floor trying to sooth the crying baby with gentle bounces, soft shushes, coos, and random soft melodies.  In Brian’s moments of calm slumber, I looked on his beautiful face and felt overcome with feelings of love, peace, beauty, and gratitude.  In these serene moments I began to compose a lullaby, metered to the my rocking arms.  Although Brian is now a 6-foot-4 24-year-old, I think of his once tiny form every time I sing this song.  Here it is for you to enjoy.  While I have titled it “Little Brian Baby” in my own book of music, for you I have titled it simply “Little Baby” and have added brackets in the lyrics indicating where you can insert the name of your child or grandchild as you sing. Enjoy this lullaby as you rock your precious little ones to sleep.  (To see the score, click on the link below.)

Little Baby