Arthur Raymond – A Poem

Growing up, I spent a lot of time with my grandparents in Olive Branch, Mississippi. They were simple people, not very religious, but they loved with fierceness. Memories I have of my grandfather, “Tataw” I called him, are more precious to me now than ever. I’m not much of a poet, but the following is just something I wrote in honor of him. I hope you like it.

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Arthur Raymond

As old as I was young
yet closer than a minute
Tall as a memory
in tee shirt and tan pants

Smells of blue Aqua Velva
     sweat and cigarettes

A roofer by trade
building men by vocation
Patching leaks dripping water
and a boy losing father

Fishing for the fish
     catching for the cooking

A soldier you would think
Sharp dressed in Army khakis
Just a photo on the wall
Not a warrior, just a roofer

He warms a feather pillow
     cool on the underside

while Roofer sleeps us away
in his big iron bed
To a land of giants and pigs
Where we dream of nothing

And everything, everywhere
     and nowhere, because

Another roof needs roofing
His garden needs tending
Pocket knife needs sharpening
And I am always listening

And the roofer simply says
Yea the lord would say
     unto thee,
“Peace on you boy, get outta here"