Tag Archives: son

The Rhyming of Love

by Thomas Davis

Our fathers died, and then your mother left
And took a train ride to her resting place.
There are no words for senses left bereft
The moment living left our son’s good face.

Our love was glory when it first began to bloom.
We walked brown hills and felt the sky breathe light—
You took your hesitant, unlikely groom
And gave him more of life than was his right.

The days of work and turmoil, gladness, stress,
Have slowed us down and made us feel our years
As separateness has ground against the press
Of love through joyous days and bitter tears.

From gnarling roots of memories and time,
Love forges symphonies of changing rhyme.

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Daughters and Sons

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

I remember
when our daughters
became “a certain age”
and left us—
not just in a physical way,
but from our hearts as well.

I was sure this was what
raising children was about—
children leave you at a certain age,
never to return.

But they did return and
made that full circle
back to us, but
with “certain stipulations.”

Our son left,
came back,
then left again,
angry.

We thought he would
never return,
but he did again
at his death:

Came back full circle
to say, I need you both.

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The Rhyming of Love

a love poem to Ethel by Thomas Davis

Our fathers died, and then your mother left
And took a train ride to her resting place.
There are no words for senses left bereft
The moment living left our son’s kind face.

Our love was glory when it first began to bloom.
We walked brown hills and felt the sky breathe light—
You took your hesitant, unlikely groom
And gave him more of life than was his right.

The days of work and turmoil, gladness, stress,
Have slowed us down and made us feel our years
As separateness has ground against the press
Of love through joyous days and bitter tears.

From gnarling roots of memories and time,
Love forges symphonies of changing rhyme.

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The Leaving

a pastel and poem, in memoriam, by Ethel Mortenson Davis

The Poet’s Walk

The Mourning Cloaks 1
accompanied us
along our walk.

“They said,
“He loved and
not to be afraid.” 2

“That was the sum
of your being,
your purpose,
wasn’t it?

“Do you remember
when you told us,

‘Go take
the Poet’s Walk along
the Hudson River.
It’s a place I like
to go?”

So today we walk
The Poet’s Walk,
joined by the
Mourning Cloaks
to say our last goodbye.

Note: 1 Mourning Cloaks are butterflies.
2 This was Kevin’s last message, written after he could not speak. The full message was, “Kevin loves and not to be afraid.” Kevin passed away 2 years ago from today.

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Kite Flying

a photo essay by Sonja Bingen

The winds of early spring sing windy songs
and young boy’s thoughts begin to long

for wings that lift his feet off ground to sky
and let his spirit start to fly.

He starts upon a hill, runs, lets legs stretch
as gentle winds begin to catch

the kite into its dance of buffeting
as paper, string, and tail go soaring

into a place where boys have always run
into the joy of springtime’s sun.

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Sonnet 42

by Thomas Davis

Back in New Mexico the monsoon rains
had turned the desert green. Massed sunflowers blazed
with purple bee balm in the fields, the stain
of colors so intense there was a praise
of living in the vibrancy exploding
across a landscape barren, dry, the earth
so sterile that the thought of burgeoning
into a garden seemed a cause for mirth.
We walked in beauty like the Navajo
and thought about our son and how his eyes
would never look again into the glow
of fields of flowers, see the flight of butterflies.

The moment that that thought occurred to me,
I stopped. How can this be reality?

Note: This was written just days after our son’s death in Poughkeepsie, New York.

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Sonnet 38, Kevin Michael Davis, February 16, 1982 – July 23, 2010

by Thomas Davis

He died enveloped in his mother’s arms.
The two of them alone, she felt so tired
from lack of sleep, she thought about the charm
of closing eyes and drifting off, transpired
into a dream where waiting, dread, and love
were not commingled with each ragged breath
he took. But then his breathing changed. She shoved
herself out of her chair and smelled his death.
She put her arms around him as his eyes
flew open, glancing one last time at light,
and then his breathing stopped. The cloudy skies
leaked rain. Eyes stared without the gift of sight.

Her daughter said, she brought him to the earth,
her love the bridge between his death and birth.

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Sonnet 36

by Thomas Davis

What does it mean deep down, beneath all feelings,
all thought, the regularity of breath,
to have a son? Blood from your blood, the singing
as steady as your heartbeat, the length and breadth
of who you are as father, husband, man,
the meaning borne from father, mother, son
passed through to son and daughters, all the hands
humanity has known on days with blazing suns.
We ought to celebrate and really know
each moment when our voices weave a song
as powerful as any oratorio
that makes the love we feel forever strong.

I think about my son, his spirit’s gentleness,
his signature of passionate intelligence.

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Sonnets 22 and 23

by Thomas Davis

22

At Newport Beach the sun was shining Spring.
Offshore, out in Lake Michigan, clouds brewed
in swelling rolls lit white by sun, a multitude
of giants in a day so still the wings
of seabirds hardly moved as, white, they swing
above the lake into the shore, the mood
created like perfection, interlude
between the storms our selves are apt to sing.

Our daughters swim against the waves and laugh.
Our son, absorbed, collects a pile of stones
and makes a wall on sand, an autograph
soon lost to water and the wave’s white foam.
Time freezes in our minds, but arrows past,
though we would make our times together last.

23

Time turns into a cruelty of hours.
The battle fought to find a snatch of hope,
our conversations as we tried to grope
with decades shrunk to days, and youthful powers
reduced to helplessness and empty hours,
our words of love as time, the misanthrope,
snatched from the two of us the skills we need to cope
with dread and loss and cancer’s awful power.

He doesn’t wake. He doesn’t speak. His breath
is ragged; coughing rattles in his chest.
His face is yellow, thin; it hints of death
to come–so suffering will end with rest.
And as we wait, time crawls where once it flew,
as mutable as good times we once knew.

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Sonnet 18

by Thomas Davis

The doctor said what needed to be said.
We asked the questions that we had to ask.
Compassion lined the doctor’s careful mask.
She held him; he held her; the awful dread
we’d felt at seeing him so weak in bed
now turned into a nightmare, a formal masque
that left our darkest primal fears unmasked,
our sense of living shattered, left in shreds.

How long? he asked the doctor as he sighed.
The doctor said, two weeks, some hours, some days.
She bent her head into his lap and cried;
he sobbed, his mother cried; I fought the haze
unmanning me. What could we do? I tried

to think, but, looking at my son, was dazed.

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