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To Dad on His Birthday

Here is a poem my Dad wrote. In honor of his birthday, I thought I would share it with you. Hope you don’t mind, Dad! But the world needs to know your awesomeness. I love you.

“Jasmine-scented, at a garden-dance The looping lights across the shadowy garden”


by Milton E. Pharr

First in the silent office, he brings the lights
Half on, and spies a glossy magazine
Perfect teeth, perfect hair
Perfect almond eyes and unfettered glancing
From what drowsy hamlets do they hail
What modest homes, what flawed parentage?

They have risen in the world, have they not?
Far, far beyond this ecclesiastical hermitage
This one’s eyes, once-brown, now blue
All the world’s a stage
He rode with some, the same cranky buses
Watched them, smooth heads down, spare
divinity an hour

This one tall, willowy, brings a catch to the throat
The straight hair brown, the crescent eyes teal
Jasmine-scented, at a garden-dance
The looping lights across the shadowy garden
Night and a gibbous moon, white light
The heat still rising from the grass
A heartfelt tune, and the scent of gardenia in the air
All, all things, shall soon come to pass

A vagrant thought of thrushes, finches, jays;
The same meadows they frequent, the same mown earth,
The same boughs
And when spring surges through the valley
They’re here. These birds have flown
Silvering shadowy roofs and trees,
Strive in vain to beat back the night
Whose forces rove in power

First light, and only crows on the road
And here in this sprawling white space
Only desks massed high with brown folders
Tawdry bric-a-brac on the walls
The imperial hum of the disk drive
And a waste of beige carpet stretching into the darkness of the far office
Another day.


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