|Grandpa at 90|
He was in his nineties that evening, a WWI veteran, a musician, a fly fisherman, gardener - my Grampa. He was talking about life, and he said that young men think of all the things they want to do in the future, while an old man like him knows that the future contains his departure.
Grandpa lived to be 100 years old plus a month. His last words to me, when I hurried to the hospital to see him, were 'I love you!'. He died in his sleep.
On the evening I mentioned, I started thinking, and I ultimately wrote a poem. I like the form of a sonnet, and that is what I wrote. My grandfather loved it. And I lost it in the course of many moves. I didn't have a computer at that time, just paper.
It was entered in a poetry contest of sorts (the kind where you 'win' and get to buy a volume of poetry that contains your effort. I didn't bother) and then it was lost.
Recently, I tried to find it. My mother went through all her papers - no luck. But she gave me a number of old poems, which I put away. Last night I was sorting through them - and here it is, not lost forever and regretted, but complete, tying the past to the present.
Sonnet for my Grandfather
Could I by some chance make you stay with me
Beyond the moments given you by time,
If I could somehow stay your destiny,
Unravel fate's thread and unsay life's rhyme –
I'd spend a thousand summers by your side,
Distill them to the touch of one clear day
Within the stippled shade where brown trout hide,
Watching the water skimmers' silent play
Along the surface; I would stay with you
And hold your hand nor would I hurry on
As once I did, to matters fierce and new,
Whose call to me was brief, whose thrill is gone.
But at your side I'd cheerfully remain,
Knowing those times could never come again.
Diana Wilder © 1979