This post was originally published on Jan. 18, 2013…exactly six years ago today. As I was reading through some of my published poetry recently, I came upon of this very personal poem and felt it deserved to be seen again, possibly by eyes new to this blog. I hope you like it!
When I’m not writing children’s poetry, writing advertising copy, or writing my blog, I’m writing adult poetry. Sorry, those two words together – “adult poetry” – just sound weird…but I just don’t know how else to differentiate it from all my children’s poetry. In last Friday’s post, I made reference to poets being stereotypically sullen and depressed, and while this doesn’t really describe Yours Truly, I do like to put on my Serious Hat now and then and write poems for an older crowd.
This happens to be one of those poems.
It’s a very personal poem (of course, they all are, aren’t they?) because I wrote it about my wife’s paternal grandfather, Francis. She and I were very close to him, and we asked if he would be the Best Man at our wedding in August 2008. He accepted, but unfortunately passed away that spring, before he was able to fulfill his duties. A deeply religious man and devout Catholic, he felt a strong connection to his patron saint, Francis of Assisi, and he always believed that my wife and I found each other because of his prayers.
Considering the crushing emotional difficulties she and I had gone through with our respective divorces, and the fact that we stumbled upon each other so quickly and strongly, we had every reason to believe it, as well.
Imagine the irony, then, that this poem – written two years after Francis’ death – would end up being published by St. Francis College’s Assisi: Online Journal of Arts & Letters.
Sometimes, things just have a way of working out.
Francis and the Saint
Grandfather loved his birds.
They weren’t really his, of course –
flying to him from trees and bushes,
out of the sky above, from behind
lining the cobblestone
awnings and light posts.
Alighting upon his shoulder
or a finger or two
they must have sensed
calmness of mind.
He attributed that to his namesake
the patron saint,
the one who gave what he had
built what he could
and became rich in poverty.
And now, as grandfather’s birds
return to him
this final time
from behind clouds and rain
sparrow, robin, wren
perch upon his bed,
in quiet requiescence
– © 2010 Matt Forrest Esenwine
Tricia Stohr-Hunt is this week’s Poetry Friday hostess, and has today’s complete roundup at The Miss Rumphius Effect, with a tribute to the late poet Mary Oliver, who passed away earlier this week.
Ordering personalized signed copies online?
Oh, yes, you can!
Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH a note requesting the signature and to whom I should make it out to. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it for you, and then they’ll ship it. Try doing that with those big online booksellers! (Plus, you’ll be helping to support local book-selling – and wouldn’t that make you feel good?)
- NY Public Library’s “100 Best Book for Kids 2017” AND “Staff Pick!”
- KIRKUS Starred review!
- Kansas NEA Reading Circle Recommended Books!
- “Best Reads of 2017,” Unleashing Readers
- Amazon “Best Books of the Month,” Sept. 2017
- Positive reviews from Horn Book, School Library Connection, Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, and Shelf-Awareness