A Grandpa’s Invitation

In time, we will come together again.
You will come to our house.
We will have corned beef and cabbage,
or shrimp scampi.
We will celebrate.
I will play and sing for you “O, Danny Boy,”
a plaintiff “Danny Boy,”
sung by an old man, whose tenor has left him,
but whose heart knows more, now than ever,
the hurt in every word.

Perhaps, we will sing together.
You will know in your heart those words we all will sing.
Adults will not be half drunk,
even though a touch might improve their voices.
We will hug to make up for all the hugs missed
by forces of nature and forces of our own neglect.
In time, we will come together again,
much wiser, having seen the alternative.
We have looked through only a keyhole,
a sliver of light along the edge of the door left ajar.

When all men and women must stand six feet from each other,
when playgrounds must empty,
when grandchildren must wave to Grandma and Grandpa through the glass door,
there is anger and hurt and tears on the cheeks of the very young and the very old.
All have reason to cry.
Those in charge lament with arrogance the limits of their control.
Armed with all forms of weaponry,
they stand in stupor against the wrath of Nature.

And yet, the generosity of Nature
also offers the brilliance that brings humility
to those who search for understanding,
that will return balance, the salve that heals wounds.
And every man,
who takes the time to watch his grandchildren on the seesaw,
understands life.

In time, we will come together again.
You will come to my house.
We will have steak or hamburgers or shrimp scampi.
I will play “O, Danny Boy” in a most plaintiff way
so that we may place in a forgotten closet
the sadness we have felt in our separation.

And on the upbeat notes we will sing our hearts out.

Poem and sketch by Robert Brennan.

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