Father’s Arms

Father’s arms embraced my Mother,
held me as a baby, lifted me as a toddler,
picked me up when I fell, carried me when I hurt.

Father’s arms steadied my bicycle,
taught me to throw a ball, spanked me when needed.

Father’s arms drove him to work,
steered a tractor, maneuvered a lawnmower.

Father’s arms moved me to and from college,
into an apartment with my bride, into our new home.

Father’s arms worked with wood,
inlayed leather tops, created beautiful things.

Father’s arms moved him, holding a cane,
pushing a walker, propelling a wheelchair.

Father’s arms quivered holding a cup,
trembled when he no longer could hold me
over for my Mother to do wound care.

Father’s arms climbed to Heaven today.

By: Michael Williams / February 16, 2020

mapleboardwalnutboardleatherboard

My father passed away on Sunday, the date shown above.

The photographs show three of the many beautiful things he crafted. The first board was made for the man who was the plant manager at the time. The wood is figured maple, also called curly maple, and the dark stripe is an Ebony wood inlay. The squares are dark blue and dark red leather. The wood is coated with a clear finish.

The second board was made for me. The wood is walnut, with a special story behind it. My grandfather on my father’s side owned a planing mill and made a number of boards of walnut, which he stored. Decades later, my father took one of those boards and made the frame for this chessboard. The squares are dark green and cream leather. The finish is again a clear coat finish.

The third board is also mine, and was made earlier than the other two. On this one the frame is leather, same as the squares. The light squares are cream leather and the dark squares plus the frame are dark green leather.

Among other things, one project my father worked on for the company where we both worked was a large football-shaped conference table for the Green Bay Packers, with the leather in Packer Green. Other items included leather folders to hold legal pads of various sizes, leather mousepads, and leather covered pencil holders. I have several of the leather folders, one made out of a remnant of that Packer Green leather.

6 comments

  1. I’ sorry to hear the sad news about your father. I’m glad you have such wonderful memories to hold onto. Though things will never be the same, I hope you and your family can work together to get through these tough times.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Michael

    First, let me say — I give you my heartfelt condolences and can only imagine the grief and sadness you feel. Yet, through your poetry there is a beautiful sense of love and recognition for this man’s wonderful humanity and talents. You have written a very moving and exceptional poem to your dad. It deeply touched and moved me as well. I think the beauty of this verse is he way you describe his arms that encompassed and carried the action of love, craftmanship, sacrifice and grace. The arms that embrace and help to unburden the weight of others as well as himself. I know when my own father passed, in 1992, I felt I had lost a freind, confidante and supporter. He ,too, was very talented and made things with his hands while also shepherding our family with love, incredible strength and sacrifice. What helped me get through that time of mourning was my writing. I drew on , as you have, the memories of his incredible goodness and love. I hope you have shared this poem with your family and that it brings some measure of personal and unified comfort. That last line —

    Father’s arms climbed to Heaven today.

    sums up this poem with exquisite truth and grace. Indeed, his arms have allowed him to climb into Heaven and to be with God. I imagine that would be a deep sense of solace. I also want to thank you for sharing your father’s beautiful talent with wood and leather. These pieces of art are ingenius and a testament to his skill and ingenuity. It is a wonderful thing that you have a few as personal gifts, treasures to remember him by.

    Again, my condolences.
    May God bless you and your family during this difficult time.
    Take care,
    Wendy

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Wendy. This poem was included in the card given to each person attending the service, and was read aloud during the service. It was also printed in the local paper with his obituary. I did not anticipate anything like that when I wrote it.

      Thank you for your condolences. As I’m sure you know, it will get better but the hole in our lives will never completely go away.

      Like

  3. Michael,

    My heart aches for your loss. One would never deny the pleasure of heaven
    to a man who has lived well and loved well as your father has done in his
    time on this earth. Although I never really knew him, I felt as if I did from your
    many posts that spoke so joyfully of your time with him. Please know my
    prayers are with you and your family at this sad time.

    Sarah

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you Sarah. As I wrote in a poem once for someone else; “The heart, however prepared, never truly believes in one less.” My mother and I are learning the truth of that statement now.

    Like

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