Grandad Remembers



I’m gettin’ old

I never thought the day would come

but I guess it’s here now.

Getting’ old always happened to other men

like Grandpa Higgins

or “Old Man Martin”.


Today I see my sons and grandsons

sittin’ on those modern monsters

they call combines,

and I remember days they’ve never even seen!


I remember the threshing meetings.

When neighbors gathered to bring in your bounty;

and goin’ to bed so tired from honest work

that I slept like a baby.


I remember milkin’ by hand before the sun

was up on a winter morning.

When the warmth of that gentle beast

made an oasis of peace in a frosty barn.

And the mama cat and kittens

all sat in a row

waitin’ for us to share with them.


I remember the slow and easy pace

the horses set.

The clop clop rhythm of summer days;

the cracklin’ crunch of a fresh-snowed morning,

when the harness creaked

and frost lay like diamonds

on shaggy manes.


I remember the freshness of life

when each new calf was a miracle

and each year’s crop was a special gift

you’d give to Annie and me.

Ah, thank you for Annie, Lord,

and the time you gave us.


I guess I started gettin’ old when she died.

It was like spring didn’t hardly come no more

without her wonder at it.

Without her flowers and her garden.

Without the new-hatched chicks

behind the range

or the bottle lambs followin’ wherever she went.


I never quite got over the joy of her.

How someone so sweet and special

could think I was so much!

I didn’t tell her near often enough

that I loved her.

I never could put it into words.

I guess I figured she just knew somehow.

Oh, it’ll be good to see Annie again!


But just now the days are long

and I feel all tied up in a body

that don’t work right.

Alone in a world of young, healthy people

who move too fast

and have little time to sit and reminisce

with an old man.


Ah, if this rockin’ chair were a buggy

with a high-steppin’ mare movin’ like honey

down a willow-shaded lane!

Wouldn’t that be fine, Lord?

Wouldn’t that be fine!

c.2011 Donna Swanson, from SPLINTERS OF LIGHT



About dswan2

Poet, author, columnist, lyricist, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, wife of 50 years. Born and raised in America's Heartland
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6 Responses to Grandad Remembers

  1. Pingback: Thursday Poets Rally Week 41(April 7-13, 2011) | Promising Poets' Poetry Cafe

  2. Jamie Dedes says:

    I see you figured out Rally. Great! Welcome!

    Don’t forget that part of the process is making and visiting other poets – encouraging and getting to them – it takes a bit of time, but you will build some solid virtual friendships.

    This is quite a wonderful poem, Donna! Lovely … as one elder to another.

  3. Kay Salady says:

    As I read this, I also read it to my daughter over the phone at university. We are both in tears over its beauty. Thank you!

  4. Shanna Dodd says:

    Oh this so beautiful. I felt I knew him as though he were speaking to me personally. How wonderful!

    • dswan2 says:

      Yes, my husband has been retired from farming since 1996 because of disability and already he says the farming technology is beyond him!

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