Thursday, February 21, 2013

Poetry Friday: Miracles

Welcome! The Poetry Friday roundup is here.

My dad turned 90 this week. We celebrated his birthday last Saturday night with a potluck buffet, cake, music, and good conversation. He received a set of famous moustaches from my sixteen-year-old, and the guys had fun posing as Charlie Chaplin, Hulk Hogan, Salvador Dali, Magnum, P.I., and Mario. My dad wore the Albert Einstein moustache, which seemed to suit him perfectly.

When asked about his secret to living a long and full life, my dad had a simple answer – he credits his longevity to “being happy.” Well, he also offered a few practical tips: share your life with a good partner, or one good friend, look after your body, leave your worries behind when you go to sleep. But it’s my dad’s happy glow that seems to keep him young in spirit.

My dad has always been an optimist, although he has lived through his share of struggles. He was a child of the Depression, served in War World II, and nurtured a business through many ups and downs. He has seen friends and loved ones come and go, and has managed his own health challenges. Over the years, he has taught me through example to find happiness in simple things.  

Now, as I assist him in writing his memoir, I am reminded again and again of this strength in perspective. 

The poem “Miracles” by Walt Whitman comes to mind when I think of my dad.


Why, who makes much of a miracle?
As to me I know of nothing else but miracles,
Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan,
Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky,
Or wade with naked feet along the beach just in the edge of
   the water,
Or stand under trees in the woods,
Or talk by day with any one I love, or sleep in the bed at night
   with any one I love,
Or sit at table at dinner with the rest,
Or look at strangers opposite me riding in the car,
Or watch honey-bees busy around the hive of a summer
Or animals feeding in the fields,
Or birds, or the wonderfulness of insects in the air,
Or the wonderfulness of the sundown, or of stars shining so
   quiet and bright,
Or the exquisite delicate thin curve of the new moon in spring;
These with the rest, one and all, are to me miracles,
The whole referring, yet each distinct and in its place.

To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,
Every cubic inch of space is a miracle,
Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with
   the same,
Every foot of the interior swarms with the same.

To me the sea is a continual miracle,
The fishes that swim—the rocks—the motion of the waves—
   the ships with men in them,
What stranger miracles are there?

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