William Cullen Bryant House, Cummington, MA. June 29, 2008 Recorded by The Florence Poets Society for later broadcast on Northampton, MA Cable Television.
One of the Bryant poems remembers our brother, Jack, who left us in January 2008:
HIS HOURS OF GLADNESS
My late brother loved going back
To our dad’s village in Ireland
There he found rare peace in a
Spot where, he swore, his soul
Was born. John wasn’t deemed to
Be a poet like his namesake uncle.
No, his talents lay in hands that
Crafted and maintained our world.
Our grandfather could entertain a
Whole pub or party with stories in
Rhyme set to old tunes. Breathing in
His clan’s Kerry air cured Jack’s ills.
Younger sons get leftover
Attention at the first. They
Have to work harder to stand out
From their bigger brothers who
Crowd around absorbing a mothers’
Time, warmth, and light: three of life’s
Basic ingredients for sons of every age.
Fathers treat boys like they were men
Long before they’re ready. Younger
Sons, bereft of mothers, overestimated
By fathers, choose to leave home to find
Their due: respect and love, out where it’s
To be found. All the time though they’re
Drawn back to seek what they missed the
First time around, pulled back from being
Away, and dreaming of days that never
Were. Their life is betwixt, unfinished.
Love is God’s gift to our world. His son
Died that might live in hope. Old, young,
Or in between we are all his children. We
Are all loved beyond our imagining. Now
Heaven awaits our fair-haired boy, who’s
Been so long a traveling, Johnny’s been
So long at the fair: So, so long at the fair.