Patti Masterman

They Say We Stand On The Shoulders Of Giants - Poem by Patti Masterman

It's said that we stand on the shoulders of giants;
Of ancestors ceding to us their genetic heritage, their traits:
I feel the truth of it, each time I walk to the garage
And stumble again over that pile of ashes; by the tipped over bucket
I could almost swear it's great great Grandpa,
Caught in the barn fire and burned too badly to keep living;
But he'd already passed on his genes.

And next the old well; grows some ivy, thick along the bricks-
Great Aunt Florence it must be; escaped from her nearby plot
Over by the Lilac bush;
Must have been Granny Bennett, planted that purple monstrosity
To make herself more at home on the new homestead-
Taken there against her better judgment, she felt at the time;
Though if she planted flowers, their bulbs are long since wizened away.

And the scraps of her silky embroidery thread
Lie scattered over the floor of the shed
Where their old belongings were once stored;
Rat and moth-eaten because after so many years
Nobody could figure out who should have what;
And some leftover blackened jars of canned vegetables and fruit
From extinct gardens and fruit orchards.

And underneath all that, ancient dust of their shoes
And pollen from long ago plants:
They, who still repose in their once-fine Sunday best
In the little walled-off lot at the back; no doubt happy
To be free at last, of the never ending work with the hands;
Complacent as forget-me-nots, in snug earthen pots,
Probably would be glad they can't see the weeds now.

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Poem Submitted: Monday, April 12, 2010

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