“THE DIVER, THE SURVIVOR.” a poem December 6, 2019 (Friday) for: PEARL HARBOR DAY (Saturday) a.k.a.: “Papa John Will Always Be There.”
Remember (my) Good Old Grampa? PAPA JOHN on (my) Mother’s side?
Who was A NAVY MAN in World War II,
I think Papa John might have had some American Indian blood in him. He did not talk a lot, but liked listening to his wife's friends [Mama Jean was a piano teacher and, for many years, the President of The Montana Piano Teachers' Association] who might come by, and he would often listen to them for long periods and then remark: "You don't say!" He had long legs, and, according to my Dad, one weekend, when Papa John was about 55 years old, there was a race in the town he lived in [in Montana]. There were a number of participants and he was much older than, perhaps, everybody else, but, despite that, he almost won. A young man, perhaps a former college sprinter, won the event, but Papa John, with his long, churning legs, came in a close second. He liked to fix things and had a big workshop in the basement, where he would show me how to fix lawn mowers and other gadgets. Papa John, although he ate turkey or fish on occasion, preferred not to eat very much meat because he did not like the thought of the suffering the creature would have to go through to provide him dinner. He taught school in "a one room school house" and often suggested they his students be kind to animals, who have feelings too. He was very upset one day when he caught some boys burning ants to death with a magnifying glass. He reminded them that, even though the ants are very small, they can feel pain too. He died one night in his sleep, down in the basement, alone in his room, while I was away; I imagine, perhaps, he died with memories of the friends he had when he was in The Navy. That was Papa John. He was quite the Grampa. Sigh! J 🐦 Jay
HE WAS THERE and he tells us all that ON THAT DAY BOMBS DROPPED,
and SHIPS WERE SUNK and MEN WERE KILLED and
Then, “THEY” swam and mopped.
“THEY,” who were THE MEN LIKE HIM “survivors,” who DOVE IN TO THE SEA,
And FISHED OUT BODIES OF DEAD FRIENDS;
December 7th (1941) it would be.
HE WAS THERE in (19) ’41 WHEN BLOOD WAS EVERYWHERE,
And smoke and friends that HE FISHED OUT;
Yes, Grampa got to stare,
At such destruction and take it in,
And WITNESS THEN WHAT WE’RE TOLD NOW HAS BEEN:
This EVIDENCE of humans fighting and showing how,
We can KILL and MAIM, and, even now,
In 2019 we can still look back?
(I remember) Papa John who lived in the basement in Helena, Montana,
Sleeping on his “rack,”
Who sometimes came upstairs and told his grandson ME,
(Back then THEY HAD NO TERM “P T S D.”)
He told me: “Men can be mean and men can sometimes do things,
That can kill and destroy and much suffering it brings,
SOME WISDOM even so to those,
Who have experienced such traumas; yet NOW I DOZE,
DOWN IN THE BASEMENT, AND I D I V E INTO BAD DREAMS.
There were friends I LOVED there, and each memory ‘streams,’
To haunt every day yet show me THE WAY,
TO LOVE EVEN DEATH and HOLD PAIN AT BAY.”