Saturday, March 19, 2005

Family Histories

And old friend on the East Coast wrote me (and about 300 of his smartest friends) and asked the question about family histories. It was more than a simple "nature vs. nurture" issue and an open inquiry.

I wrote him back as best I could and sent him this poem from the late 80s which dealt with that issue to some extent.


I feel the tumblers
Rock and stumble
Hard within me
Well-worn keys
Handed down from
Generation to generation
Through the fumbling
My Father
Leaving the doors open
Leaving the doors closed
But mostly
Leaving the empty rumble-hum
Of a lost son
I was visited without invitations

The Iniquity of the Fathers

I inherited my
Hole of turning
The burning hot
Haunting heart of
My Grand

The Iniquity of the Fathers

Who in his youth
Made the Turning
Visited my childhood
Father no more
Unlocked the desolate places
Entertained family demons
Leaving the doors open
Inviting the enveloping
Consulate of Women
To fill each and every hall.
Visiting the Sons
so long as it is called Today

For twenty
And eight years
The tumblers
Grease grinded
Hard twisting left
Extreme right
Shaking rattling violence
But no one was released.

The Iniquity of the Fathers

But came the day
The iron stopped cold
Silence cleared a field
And holy dreams were
Born in Mercy
Mercy for a fourth generation
Who no longer hate
Or fear their God

My sons were made safe
Handed down through windows

Unmerited favor lavished on the Sons
so long as it is called

I have a great picture to post with it, but have not yet worked out the three programs you need to post pictures easily on Blogger. If you wish you can see the formatted version at:

It opens up discussion on our family histories, and the possibilities that they can be changed, by the grace of God, or human determination, or just dumb luck.

Respectfully submitted,