Shawn McAllister

Rookie (January 22,1944 / San Antonio, Texas)

My Old Man - Poem by Shawn McAllister

My old man used to pull mama aside
when we kids came home from school
he’d shake his head in that beaten ole easy chair
sayin’ “hello, hon! ”
thinkin’ where the next meal’s comin’ from

Bred from the soil of Georgia clay
he carried the law of sweat and toil
like a Bible in his pocket
through each passing age
Suffering the burden as head of a clan
God’s fist bruised his skin
branding him a country man
just enough so’s you could tell

He built his little empire with bare hands
from spit and soil and country will
so mama and we kids had one more meal again
Tho’ he never touched tools of universities
great books were written in those hands
and he stepped across a smile
easy as most men walk a mile
As he sat upon his throne of rags
like a sagamore of lore
grumbling brother to the bear
the world passed him by,
he didn’t understand
but he’d tag every visit with
“ya’ll come back when ya can”
A mountain was in that man

An eagre born to southern dams
left for me to ford
my old man is my next breath
that I rely upon

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Poem Submitted: Sunday, August 17, 2008

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