You Have Loved

for H.B.W.

You have loved to watch the sun
Burst from her chamber
Like a horse from the stall
After a long dark night
In Kentucky
Where horses sprung from the hills
When God made the earth and said
It is good.

You have loved to see the birds
Begin their morning ruckus, oblivious
Of the watching man
From the hard earth below
The pigeons he raised once on corn
Stolen from the distillery train:
Rollers, Fantails, Homers, Racers.

You have loved roses and waltzing
And the girl with the pretty legs
Who didn’t know you
But said she would take care
Of you always.
And she did, what’s more,
As if you were the first couple
And faithfulness was all there was.

You have loved to see your children
Have children who have children.
One baby you held longest
Because she came last.
Your assignment
After long years of frustrating work
Was this child with your quick temper.
The best years, saved for last.

You have loved to hear the rain
come down, good and strong
from your sickbed. Happy,
that some work’s getting done.
by the sound and the thought:
Couldn’t go outside anyway now
Everything’ll be alright.

You have loved living the days.
It is enough, Old Man, to be.
Long years of ambition have led to this:
A satisfied heart. Not whole,
but satisfied.
Still waking-up to watch the sun
Burst from her stall in Kentucky.
Still trusting in the God who said
It is good.

Foolish generation who cannot see
Past the end of their pale noses
To the light on the bluegrass
Rising in triumph and hope
Once more.
No matter the pain, it is true:
It takes life to love life.
Only God has the right to say
It is finished.

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