Lynn W. Petty
On Being A Grandfather - Poem by Lynn W. Petty
For Ryan, My Grandson.
My first encounter with him was when we were left
alone in the same room. There he sat,
on the floor, plump and fleshy, a blob of protoplasm, with large
Carefully, distantly, I circled him, ensuring that I
was not drawn into the magnetism of his being.
I was not to be fooled by his beguiling mannerisms.
He was being cute, making funny faces and sounds,
attempting to enchant me into picking him up.
No, no, no, not I! !
How dare he enter my life, changing the image of myself,
creating an unwanted persona, which I was unprepared to act,
and unwilling to accept.
I maintained a somewhat removed and distant relationship,
cordial, but I kept some space between us.
As time continued, he was beginning to say a few words.
Our relationship became less distant, and I actually looked
forward to the weekends, without expressing aloud
any anticipation of his arrival.
He and I would walk together, just the two of us.
We would walk along meandering pathways, past
fountains and duck-filled ponds, enjoying the day.
That was the day he, in his trickery, feigned fatigue,
extended his arms for me to lift him up,
which I, falling into his trap, did.
I looked into his face and could see he was trying to say something,
but his mouth was unable to formulate his thought.
As he struggled to enunciate the word,
that lay mute upon his lip and tongue, he laid his head
upon my shoulder and into my ear
he uttered the most glorious word ever spoken:
"Bampa! ! "
Rich, deep, mellow, full, the word filled my brain
like a pealing church bell fills the country-side,
as it echoes and re-echoes off the shoulders of the empurpled hills
at vesper time.
I staggered in sweet intoxication, having drunk the elixir of its sound.
Half choked by a rising tremor of love, I,
in all its spiritual, physical and literal meaning,
had become a Grandfather.
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