Welcomed by the Land – A Father Returns Home

The third in a series of Lineage Poems: Welcomed by the Land- A Father Returns Home. My father left Hancock County Ohio after the war and barely looked back. But when he died in 1986, there was a plot waiting for him there. A farmers’ cemetery tucked among the cornfields, rows of family names eroding into nothing up a small hill. Later, my mother would join him there, but this poem is about his journey home. And the Redwing Blackbirds in the fields, and the ribbon of asphalt leading there. About an Oldsmobile, and the memories of a boy, now a no longer young man.

Click here for the first poem in the Lineage Series: https://oldbonesnewsnow.com/2022/01/09/a-joyful-noise-root-music-of-the-heartland/

Click here for the second poem in the Lineage Series: https://oldbonesnewsnow.com/2022/01/16/on-the-way-to-heaven-2nd-lineage-poem-over-ohio/

photo credit – the Audubon Society https://www.audubon.org/

A Father Returns Home:

redwing blackbirds

redwing blackbirds 
flash like fire in the sun, the Olds 
sailing and sailing over waves of blacktop

clicking past fenceposts, the boy 
peering from the back seat trying to count 
but it’s too fast to keep up 

such a small hole for a man that size 
tough to fit eternity into a space like that 
maybe space like time is collapsed by death

they say at the margin space and time 
are the same thing. tell me, if you could choose 
would you disappear in order to last forever? 

maybe it’s better to spread yourself out 
catch the wind and let it swirl you as ashes
straight to heaven. or maybe get an Olds

hold the jar out the window 
and go sailing over waves of blacktop
pop the cork and stream out the long dusty cloud 

that’s now filling your mirrors as you drive 
catching now on the wind, filling the sky 
until the sun itself goes black 

until the redwing blackbirds 

disappear



© 2022 jafink/oldbonesnewsnow.com

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6 thoughts on “Welcomed by the Land – A Father Returns Home

  1. I want to thank you for writing and sharing these, Jeff. You may recall that your poem “that I would do better” touched a deep chord in me. As you appreciate, a certain age brings with it a consciousness of the past, those with whom we shared it, and the nature of our path to the present. Consciousness, but not necessarily understanding. Your offerings help me along my way to the latter.

    • Hunter- thanks so much for the careful read and the kind words. True that the light changes on the far side of the hill. Hopefully darkness doesnt fall too quickly

    • Mary-

      Most of these we written some tome ago, so it’s really assembling a story from older work. Rather emotional to revisit some of these older pieces. Thanks again

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