World Poetry Day- New Poem

In honor of World Poetry Day, a new poem, inspired by an old book and my Grandfather. 


Grandfather died when I was 8

We inherited his some of treasures

Mostly books

But not just any books


Classics bound in leather

Embossed with gold

Paperbacks too

Faded covers

With yellowed pages


There was Anna Karenina in two volumes with some illustrations

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare

But my favorite to look at was Leaves of Grass

It had a strange cover made of suede leather

It had a leather tie around it

As if the words could not contain themselves

And would jump off the page if given the opportunity


No matter how they were cleaned

They always had a thin layer of dust

They smelled slightly musty and old

But I loved them


I spent my summers reading

Whenever I finished a book

I would examine the shelves

Run my hands across the spines

Feeling the leather bump across my fingers


I picked out books that looked interesting

Carefully looked through the pages

With hope I would find a clue

A piece of my Grandfather from the past


I desperately wanted more

I wanted to understand him

Where he came from

What his thoughts were

What his favorite book was


Sometimes I would find a handwritten note

Waiting for me in the margins

An underlined passage

Calling my attention

Little clues to put the pieces together


I categorized his books

Piles of books to read now

Books to read when I was older

But I was sometimes afraid to touch them

Some of them were so old and falling apart

Loose pages

I didn’t want to lose anything else from him


When I was nine

I found a tiny blue leather book I hadn’t seen before

The pages were thin and edged in gold like a bible

But it wasn’t a bible


I looked for the title

The Childs Garden of Verses Etc. by Robert Louis Stevenson

Finally an age appropriate book


I carefully flipped through the pages

Looking for pieces of my Grandfather in the margins

Then the flipping stopped

There was something there

Hidden in the book


It was a tiny four-leaf clover

I had not found a four-leaf clover before

There was no telling how old it was

How lucky I was to find this


I imagined my Grandfather

Sitting under a tree with my mother and her brothers

Reading to them from that book

As they ran off to play he spotted the four-leaf clover


I could see the smile on his face as he found it

Picking it with his young fingers

Examining the clover

Turning it over in his hand

Then carefully placing it in between the pages for later


I carefully set the book down

I reached for the clover

As I picked it up it quickly turned to dust

Just like the memories of my Grandfather had begun to fade