We buried my father, 29 years ago today, at the young age of 70! Next month I will turn 74. The years have moved on, and now I have out lived my father. He will always have a place in my heart, as memories of my life with him wander in and out of my consciousness. I am like him in so many ways. I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, as the saying goes.
Valentine’s Day brings many mixed feelings for those who have lost loved ones this past year. Covid-19 took its toll around the world, and it wasn’t just older folks who succumbed to the virus. You might think losing the one you loved has left you empty; but love remains. I wrote this a couple of years ago, but I feel it is appropriate to post again this year.
but love’s not lost
Pain entangles in every bone
not in the devastating loss;
But in you.
Love comes from deep within;
Definitely not a superficial thing…
Rooted deep in your heart and soul
Loss brings manic feelings
rushing into scary dips
Love is rooted deeper
than whispers from the lips;
Yours alone to give or keep.
A treasure of the heart
does not come cheap.
Though one you loved is gone
your gift of love remains;
To share at will
should you choose again
to give away or keep
Photo: Dwight L. Roth
Dedicated to all those who have lost loved ones this past year
Dwight L. Roth 3/03 & 4/04 Originally written as a song…
Today at d’Verse, Bjorn asked us to write a war poem. War is such a tragedy, with so many lives lost and maimed. But the saddest part is collateral damage of children killed in the carnage. I was asked, before the first invasion of Iraq, what I thought about President Bush sending troupes over there. I said it will probably end up being another Viet Nam. A no win war with extreme losses. With the second invasion and the expansion into Afghanistan, it has become a quicksand for the US. This is my song I wrote back at the beginning, as I thought of all those families that would be displaced and permanently damaged by the war.
I was sad to hear today that Jeopardy host Alex Tribek had died from Pancreatic Cancer. He resolved to work as long as possible, Even with chemo treatments and pain, he worked until two weeks ago. Unlike the butterfly in the pictures, he did not show his battle scars. He carried on until the end and never gave up. An example for all of us.
Battle scars showing
Butterfly never gives up
We miss you, Alex
I saw this beautiful creature on my butterfly bush a couple of years ago. It has much of it tails shredded and missing. It seemed unphased as it flitted from flower to flower drawing strength. Even with all its damage, its true colors still came through. These photos seemed to fit so well with the passing of Alex Trebek.
Tears flowed like a downpour on a hot summer day. All around, Jennifer could see the wives of the miners in Swift Creek Mine. Earlier that morning, an explosion trapped eight men in the far end of the shaft. Three of Jennifer’s friends were among the women anxiously awaiting their fate.
The siren on top of the tipple sent shrill chills through the little coal patch. At times like this, the whole neighborhood rushed to the mine for word of who the trapped miners might be. Those whose husbands were safe, stayed to give comfort and support.
A red moon rides on the humps of the low river hills of the Monongahela.Jennifer could only wonder when it would be her time to weep; having a husband and son who worked there.
Everyone went silent… as the men were carried out… one by one!
Painting of Coke Ovens and Mine: Dwight L. Roth
Prosery today at d’Verse: Lillian gave us the challenge to write a flash fiction of exactly 144 words that includes a given line from Carl Sandburg’s poem, Jazzy Fantasia . The line I included was A red moon rides on the humps of the low river hills… This story comes from memories of my childhood in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Many lives were lost in the coal mining industry that supported our steel mills in Pittsburgh at the time.
I was sad to receive word last week that that my childhood neighbor had passed away at age 94. He was such a creative and talented man and father of a my childhood friend and playmate. When I saw him two years ago, he still had many good memories to share. It reminded me once again of the impermanence of life.
It has been over fifty years since I lived next door in my childhood home, which now gives the impression of impermanence as you can see. This evening Merril, at d’Verse Poets Pub, asked us to write a poem that reflects on the significance of impermanence.
Nature reminds us
Everything in life changes;
The sun still rises.
But houses deteriorate;
And good friends and neighbors die.
Photo: Dwight L. Roth
My father-in-law. who had Alzheimer’s, was confined several years ago after his wife was diagnosed with a brain tumor. This all took place within a month and a half. Initially we took him to visit her in her care facility across the city; but. he forgot he saw her by the time he got back to his residence.
It was very difficult for him that first year and after she passed away. When we went to visit we found notes written on his dinner napkins asking where she was and why she did not come back. It was heartbreaking to read his pleas for answers. Although we explained everything to him it was not long till he again asked the same questions. The note writing stopped after about a year. He seemed to be resigned that he was there by himself and only asked about her on occasion. He was there for five years and died in 2018.
In the winter of life the fog sets in
obscuring the obvious and familiar
Leaving one to memories past;
today’s events already forgotten.
A perspective very different
from yours and mine;
Time stands still …
like looking in a mirror to the past;
Closing the windows of the present.
Anxieties not understood
plague the mind and thoughts.
Looking for a spouse long gone;
Expecting to see her any moment;
Wondering where she is
and when she will return.
Distraught to the point of resignation
the fog becomes more intense.
Time slows down as the hour glass trickles
until finally // the top glass is empty.
This beautifully haunting song by Kathy Mattea helps bring the sadness of this disease into perspective.
The tragic death of basketball star Kobe Bryant, his daughter, along with seven others in a helicopter crash once again reminds all of us that ,”life is but a dream!” It can be taken from us in an instant. It is so sad when lives are taken in their prime. For those left behind it must all seem like a bad dream.
Sudden death brings shock
Like living a dream too surreal
Their spirit’s always with us
A deep sadness lies within
Photo: Dwight L. Roth
At d’verse Lillian asked to write a poem about dreams. There are many kinds of dreams. I chose to reflect on the events of this week, and the lives lost in California.
On a trip to Myrtle Beach, we saw this truck parked on a corner, in front of a motel where everyone would see. The U.S. Army flag was kept unfurled with a rod. Many returning Veterans wanted all to know that though they came back home, some of their fellow soldiers did not survive. Patriotism and Pride runs deep this Memorial Day.