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Remembering my father

What did I learn from him?
He taught the difference
Between good work and sham,
Between nonsense and sense.

He taught me sentences,
Outspoken fact for fact,
In swift coherences
Discriminate and exact.

He served with mind and hand
What we were hoping for:
The small house on the land,
The shade tree by the door,

Garden, smokehouse, and cellar,
Granary, crib, and loft
Abounding, and no year
Lived at the next year’s cost.

He kept in mind, alive,
The idea of the dead:
“A steer should graze and thrive
Wherever he lowers his head.”

He said his father’s saying.
We were standing on the hill
To watch the cattle grazing
As the gray evening fell.

“Look. See that this is good,
And then you won’t forget.”
I saw it as he said,
And I have not forgot.



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