My Grandfather’s Chair
For Margie Goldsmith
“Write about that chair,” Margie said,
and I wondered what was in her head.
How can I write about that chair
when those who sat in it are not there.
Before the coal fire my grandfather sat,
snoring away, on his lap slept the cat.
At three years old, I climbed that chair,
and blew on the bald spot in his hair.
So many things we no longer know:
my grandpa did the same thing, years ago,
and years before that, his own grandad
did just the same to make his old man mad.
Now I, in my turn, when I drink deep,
like to sit in that chair for a little sleep,
and my grand daughter, there’s no grandson,
climbs up that chair, as others have done,
and sees the bald spot in my hair
and blows and blows as I snooze there.
The years roll back and I see the smiles
of generations woken by a young child’s wiles.
Comment: Talking the other day, I mentioned my grandfather’s chair, the only piece of furniture rescued from my parents’ house, and Margie said I had to write a poem about it. So, last night I did. The result is something very different from what I normally write. This is what in Spanish is called an occasional poem and it celebrates a specific occasion, a specific set of circumstances. Thus, it is written under different rules, rhyme, rhythm, stanzas. It is always an adventure to write something suggested by someone else. Poems like this cross the boundary between poetry of play (which this is) and occasionally enter the realm of poetry that expresses the authenticity of being which, to a certain extent is present in this poem too. The above photo, from our local newspaper, The Daily Gleaner, is the only one I have of the chair which resides in the basement where I keep my books. The article is an old one (2017), but the photo is nice!