About Me

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Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts, United States

Friday, May 29, 2009

My First Name

Old enough to be everyone's father or grandfather;
Everyone calls me by my first name.
I never did like my first name.
My mother ran out of names for a third son.

Disappointed that she did not produce a girl,
She tagged me with the handle of her grandfather.
To be sure, Patrick was a worthy saint;
Preaching, evangelizing, converting the heathen Irish
To a religion they never learned to practice.

The name conjures up a stage Irish-American;
Blarney, drink, Pat and Mike jokes.
I should have been named Richard.
Is it too late to change?

Male Kimballs are always named Richard;
After our progenitor who emigrated from Sussex in 1634,
With his wife, five children, and his mother-in-law.
A sturdy yeoman, he built wagons and houses,
And left his seed all over New England.

Why can't I be called Mr. Kimball by anyone?
What is there in our culture that demands
Familiarity on a first name basis?
Maybe I should insist on Professor Kimball;
To awe the natives with my erudition and pedagogy.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Old Men and Guidons

Old men stand together on Thayer Walk,
Spending an hour in reminiscences of kaydet days,
of Army years.
The Hellcats sound assembly, we shuffle into ranks,
Four abreast this time, not sized as before.

We march off slowly, trying to keep in step.
The band plays Army Blue and Auld Lang Syne.
Coming to a halt between lines of cadets;
We sing Alma Mater and The Corps.

The oldest man lays a wreath on Thayer's monument.
Classes scatter to their respective guidons.
Cheers from the stands as each is announced.
We salute the anthem and honor the colors.

Cadet companies emerge from the sally ports to
march to their positions.
Then review past the old men, guidons lowered.
At a dinner that evening, an old company guidon
lays on a table.
Four men and a widow assemble on the old guidon.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Force of Nature

Color! Profusion! Abundance!
Define the structure of her life.
Her walls are filled with paintings, half her own.
Her artist's eye guides their placement, from floor to ceiling.

Her private rooms overflow with artifacts, pictures, keepsakes.
The public rooms are the embodiment of elegance.
Tall, regal, imposing-looking to the world;
Everything she wears makes a statement of purpose.

Her gardens are still life compositions,
Each bed and planter tells a story of its own.
She gains strength by plunging her hands into the earth,
Becoming a force of nature in everything she does.

God brought her to church to find a family of believers.
She listens to them; she sees people as wounded souls.
Her love for them is evident to all.
And wonder of wonders, she loves me!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Memories for Sale

House for sale; memories for sale.
Realtors tromp through an open house.
Is it staged; does it need to be staged?
Does anyone live here; who lived here?

Why is the living room painted yellow?
Was she a decorator; did she mean to be so bold?
The rugs are threadbare; they sink into the carpet.
The furniture is dark; the windows are open to the light.

Is that her picture; how young she looks!
Her dress is plain looking in black and white.
She smiles as she contemplates a life ahead.
Husband, children, grandchildren are still a dream.

Antique desks, tables, dressers, cupboards fill the rooms.
A four poster bed dominates the bedroom.
She was ill here; she did not die here.
Before she died, she said, "I want to come home."