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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Grandparent(s) (04/03/08)

TITLE: Those Halcyon Days
By Mariane Holbrook


Backward, turn backward, O time in thy flight;
Make me a child again, just for tonight.
Take me once more to those halcyon days
When each new morn sang a melodic phrase.

Carry me swiftly on gossamer wings
Back to that place with the cool mountain springs.
Let me awake at the rooster’s first crow
Announcing the sunrise I loved long ago.

Grandpa rose early; a fire must be built,
We kids stayed in bed, snuggling under a quilt.
Grandma was first to the outhouse each day.
We knew it was fruitless to get in her way.

Grandpa was tall and as thin as a rail.
I still see his gait as he swung his milk pail.
A great story-teller, and known for his wit,
Grandpa was wiser than he would admit.

Grandma was corpulent; take no offense.
Why, we’d never tease someone at their expense!
When Grandma would reach out her arms for a hug,
No place on earth felt so warm and so snug!

Grandma loved hymns and she sang them all day:
“Jesus Is Coming, It May Be Today.”
Her hands in the dishpan, and often off-key,
She sang “Rock of Ages” and “Love Lifted Me.”

Grandpa would sit in his favorite chair,
There by the woodstove, his head bowed in prayer.
Often he’d call me to sit on his knee
And tell me of Jesus and His love for me.

They’d had little schooling, no more than sixth grade,
But that didn’t stop them for they were self-made.
The books on the shelves there were read o’er and o’er;
The newspapers saved and stacked there by the door.

When Grandpa was younger, he worked sawing wood
Far back in the mountains where tall white pines stood.
He dug precious ginseng, its roots in demand;
Commanding high prices, it meant cash in hand.

He purchased some woodland and built a small house
And raised a large family with his loving spouse.
‘Twas perched on a hillside, lush meadows below;
Each evening at sunset, the world seemed to glow.

For years all the grandkids were welcome to stay.
We’d climb apple trees and we’d jump in the hay.
We’d fish in the streams and drop frogs in the well,
Then scare off the hens when we rang the cowbell.

Though still a young girl, I remember the day
The angels came down, took my grandma away.
Grandpa soon followed; his grief was too great.
He couldn’t face life with the loss of his mate.

Someday we will meet on that bright golden shore
Where with the Lord Jesus we’ll reign evermore.
Each day as I pray while I’m on bended knee,
“Lord, make me a grandma like mine was to me.”

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This article has been read 1142 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Debbie Wistrom04/10/08
Touching isn't the word I wnat, but I can't find it. The skill here is apparent. This must be published. Thanks for the wonderful characters!
LauraLee Shaw04/10/08
Your third from last stanza brought back memories for me. I LOVED the freedom out in the country at grandma's house. Thank you for sharing this trip down memory lane!
Holly Westefeld04/11/08
I enjoyed this tender, nostalgic poem.
Emily Gibson04/13/08
This is how I hope my someday grandchildren will remember us. A wonderful protrayal and poem.
Joanney Uthe04/14/08
Wonderful verse. You did an excellent job of putting me there, in your grandparents' home. I loved the image of Grandma singing off-key because that is how I sing.
I know that God has answered the prayer in the last line already.
Joy Faire Stewart04/14/08
There is so much I enjoyed in this poem. You take your reader into the lives of these wonderful people and with just the right amount of humor. Loved it!
Jan Ackerson 04/14/08
Gorgeous poetry, rich in rhyme, meter, imagery.

If you plan to publish this, you'll want to put the first two lines in quotes or itlaics, and provide the attribution. What a clever idea, to take this little couplet and expand it to a super poem of tribute!
Edy T Johnson 04/14/08
You are an artist, painting pictures that pull me back to my childhood. Even though when I knew my grandparents they lived in the city, they were so much like yours, hard workers, tenderly loving, and a delight to visit.

Set this to music, Friend, it is a beautiful ballad!
Lyn Churchyard04/15/08
Oh wow! This is awesome. It just rolled off the tongue as smooth as silk.
Mandy White04/15/08
Beautiful job!

I know you ARE a grandmother just like yours was to you. Love ya!
c clemons04/17/08
This was deserving of the win.
Edy T Johnson 04/17/08
Whoo Hoo! I want an autographed copy of the book. Congratulations, dear masterfully-poetic friend. I couldn't be happier if I did it myself. Enjoy the limelight, Mariane. You earned it, and I love you!
Sheri Gordon04/17/08
Congratulations on your EC. I love the last stanza. Beautiful.
Betty Castleberry04/17/08
My dear Mariane, what a loving tribute and beautiful poem. Congratulations on a richly deserved EC.
Loren T. Lowery04/17/08
This is fabulous! My goodness, I'm sorry I missed this the first time through. Congratulations on a very well deserved win for the sentiments expressed in this article. I esp. loved the part about "frogs down the well" reminds me a bit of myself back then : ) Congratulations again - Loren
Pam Carlson-Hetland04/17/08
Oh, Mariane, I love it. This poem is just beautiful! Great job, a well deserved EC place. Excellent, my friend, just excellent!
Linda Watson Owen04/17/08
Oh, dear Mariane, you've brought me to tears with this beautifully precious and rich poem! You've used your memories and exquisite skill to resurrect a time and place that so many of us now never knew. What a gift!! Congratulations, friend. This is truly a very special winner!
Helen Dowd04/17/08
I just found this Mariane. Of course you deserved to have a "first place" ribbon. This was so nostalgig and such an honorarium to your grandparents. I love the poem, but then I love all of your work. You are an inspiration and an encouragement. Sorry I didn't get to this sooner. Hospital and doctor visits (for Hart) have kept me away from the computer, but you know what that is all about...Your ever friend, Helen.
Beth LaBuff 04/18/08
Mariane -- Congrats on your level placing and EC with this. It is very beautiful in word and thought. I love it. Your use of words like "gossamer" and "halcyon" are so picturesque. I wish you could illustrate this poignant poem. (Thanks for your recent comment on one of my entries -- you've truly made my day! -- oh, and I learned a new word "halcyon" -- I love it!)
Linda Emmons04/20/08
Poetry isn't really my thing, but this brought a lump to my throat. You managed to grab an emotional thread common to all of us, even if the experiences weren't ones we share.
Marilyn Schnepp 04/24/08
Congratulations! Two EC's in a row! Well deserved! Both are just lovely.