Yesterday I attended the funeral of Father Joseph Nolan, a priest who served the Catholic church near me. Fr. Nolan was a good and faithful servant, beloved by many. Ordained 6 months before I was born, he was as funny as he was forgiving.
A few days earlier, I found the poem below. I post this poem today both as a quasi-tribute to the life of this fine priest, and to lift up the poetry of Andrew King.
Even if you don’t particularly like poetry, I urge you to give it a fair chance. I do believe King may be the next Robert Frost.
A Poem For My Father – III (Robert M.C. King: April 9, 1926 – August 7, 2015)
by: Andrew King, from his BLOG: A Poetic Kind of Place
A friend told me once how, waking to her house on fire,
she and her husband grabbed the photo albums first.
She said, “You can replace everything but memories.”
At your visitation, Dad, we had the photo displays
and the Powerpoint slideshow, a few of the pictures taken
in your younger years: you in your Boy Scout uniform,
delivering a speech at the Boys’ Parliament, a few
of you as a young husband and father, ever smiling,
your blonde hair wavy and full. But most of the photos
were post-polio, the hair all but vanished but not your smile;
there you were at weddings, graduations, reunions,
posing with dogs and grandkids, wearing the paper hats,
enjoying every party. Good memories. But what I would
have given, Dad, had I the power of omniscience,
the power to have foreseen this day and event,
to have hidden a camera inside my pocket on just one
of those Sundays you preached in our little village church,
the light from the pink and yellow windows falling
on your blue choir robe as you went from pulpit to choir
and back again, your limp not slowing you down,
your voice lifting clear and strong, the notes
for your sermon scratched on scraps in pencil;
the moment, if not the words, etching into my mind
where no fire of distance, no flame of time,
can ever diminish such memory’s pleasure.