(To My Dad on His 85th Birthday)
My father, who art a poet,
Ted Goodell be thy name.
Thy earthly kingdom is a corner house in paradise.
Thy will was to marry a uniquely wonderful woman,
And together bear three miraculous beings.
On earth you created heaven.
Everyday you gave us your bread.
Everyday you forgave us our trespasses,
and everyday we trespassed a little more.
And still you lead us not into ordinariness,
But delivered us into an awareness of being
For the mind is thy kingdom, and poetry is thy power
and thy glory, for ever and ever and ever.
Happy 85th Birthday Dad!
May 19, 2018
On your 85th birthday I want to thank you for being my father who art a poet. And even though none of us followed completely in your poetic footsteps you gave us all a softness of spirit and an appreciation for the unusual, lyrical, humorous, unbearable beauty of life. Thank you for that. Sure, it would be easier to buy you a beer, or a BBQ or tickets to a baseball game, but your not that kind of Dad. I could never find a Fathers’ Day card or a “To Dad” birthday card that ever spoke to your uniqueness as a human being. There are no cards for Dads who write poetry, prepare breakfast as a daily meditation in the placement of walnuts and prunes, recite the alphabet backwards, or dads whose greatest desire is to be free from nearly all social obligations and spend hours walking, breathing and swinging their arms in the wide open expanse of Lake Murray. I know that there is more to you than even that. Things that children are never able to see in their parents because inherently the parent’s freedom ends where the child’s begins. I’m sorry for that. Thank you for carrying me constantly, for singing to me, for telling me bedtime stories, for driving me to school, for giving in to nearly every request I ever made, for letting me go, for letting me come back, for helping me with money, pets and boys who broke my heart. And that was just the first half of my life! I’m sorry for all the times I pushed you away, for all the times I was impatient or caught up in my own troubles so deeply that I couldn’t see you. Thank you for being there. I love you. Thank you for always being a wonderful father, person and poet.