Monday, October 22, 2012



By Charles Patrick Norman

The four of us on Franklin Street one Saturday we walked,

My younger brothers ran ahead to peer in store windows

While I stretched my small steps beside my father’s strides

In blind imitation of his proud strut I stalked.

We came upon a withered man in dirty clothes upon the ground,

Against a vacant building door he leaned with dried flowers in hand,

Twisted red crepe paper, green wire stems, not worth much, to me,

Yet my father reached deeply in his pocket, giving all the quarters he found.

He handed me the flower, a poppy, symbol of a long-ago great war,

I did not understand why he paid a price so dear and asked him.

He said we can never repay that man for what he sacrificed,

“I’d have given him dollars, not silver, were we not so poor.”

In times to come I found my father never passed a beggar by

Without sharing what little he had for a pencil, smile, or God bless you.

He tossed his precious packs of Camels to road prisoners from his car

In high spinning arcs that one grinning soul snatched deftly from the sky.

He’s gone now, my father, these many years, yet his heart beats on in me,

I try to do what he would do for those less fortunate than I,

Even when it is the last I have with none to come, or more,

I think of us four on Franklin Street that day, when I was young and free.

No comments: