Dad and Dan

bill r.jpgBy Bill Ramsey. May 1, 2016.

Dad and Dan, an unlikely pair
to walk across heaven’s threshold
a week apart, a world apart.

Way back when Dan’s burning action
kindled my conflicted conscience,
radically realigning my course,
Dad foresaw impending danger,
a tableau of “G-men” ascending
his steep suburban driveway
in pursuit of his willful son.

Dad’s foresight was not that farfetched.
Not up his vegetable-lined driveway,
but rather through my own thresholds
they waved their badges, seeking names,

delivering notices of intent to prosecute,
serving a summons to appear in court,
demanding payment for their wars
that inflamed Dan’s poetic ire.

Dad, a vigilant gardener and accountant,
cared for plants and balanced spreadsheets.
Dan, a vigilant cleric, poet and prophet,
turned new phrases and burned draft files.

Members of the “greatest generation,”
they shared an era and a country,
a gentle insistence on integrity,
and devotion to their families.

The geographies of their faiths differed,
a tithing, warm-hearted Methodist,
a deeply in touch and at odds Catholic.

The venues of their service varied:
a Navy ship’s sickbay, an inner-city hospice,
rural kitchens where one taught literacy,
halls of ivy which echoed the other’s
call to become literate to our times.

From their distinct landscapes,
golf courses and prison yards,
Dad and Dan, this unlikely pair,
set the coordinates of my convictions.

And now, a week and a world apart,
on the first and last day of Passover,
they left us here to pace their distance.

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