Posted by: Peadar Ban | October 28, 2010

The First To Smile

It is eleven o’clock in the morning.
I sit here in a small room
With my father who is dead forty-one years,
With my son who is alive forty-one years;
The one gone for all those years,
The other gone only seven.
I sit with both of them;
He there, and he there.
Who will smile first?

Yesterday it rained…all day long.
A fog blanket covered the ground this morning
Before sun rise, soft and still. Light and day
Drew it off the leaves I went out to rake.
While I raked I sang sad Irish songs to the wind,
Myself and one old friend nearby
Before I came inside, a tired old man,
To find them present here
Sitting in the room, silent.

I don’t see either one often
And often wonder why I don’t see them
Outside on a lovely day after the rain
Has fallen through the night
And fog scatters before the light
Leaving soaked and shining leaves
For me to rake while singing
Sad songs to the slight wind
And an old friend.

I think it would be nice someday to see them
There on the deck where the tree fell last summer;
There some morning after rain has fallen
While the bright sun shines on the wet leaves ,
And me with my rake in my hand.
I would go to work on the leaves while they sat
And I would sing a sad song, “The Parting Glass”,
And as I sang the last, “God be with you all.”
I’d turn to see who would be the first to smile.



  1. they both smile at the thought of you…for sure.

    • Ahhh, Joan. If only. Thanks, though. It is something you may pray for.


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