Archives for posts with tag: grandchildren

I want to teach Emma who is two
by Patrick T. Reardon

I want to teach Emma who is two
to look out this window
at the chaos of yellow and green
on the mid-autumn tree
— not so chaotic when,
from the ground,
she can see the tree trunk,
solid thick, rising up and branching
and branching with myriad leaves,
each one a tiny branch
but bursting with surface
to feed on light and color
to signal the arc of its journey —
and to notice
how it looks now on this cloudy day
and yesterday in the joyful sun
and tomorrow with the rumble rain,
and to feel with her eyes
the touch of the grit
of the mortar and bricks
of the brown wall behind these leaves,
and to see with her spirit
the spirits moving around
behind that wall,
living the arcs of their journeys,
and to rise up
in her connection to mystery
to the heavens to look down
on this city, this world,
to look down
and see the billions of spirits
on sidewalks and forest paths,
on fields and in towers,
each yearning, each breathing,
each hoping amid the chaos of pain
in the arcs of their journeys,
to look down
and be one with those multitudes
— You, Emma, are multitudes —
and one with the world where they live,
the breathing, yearning earth,
as beautiful
as this mid-autumn tree
outside this window,
which is as beautiful
as every thing
in the Cosmos
and as she is.

PAINTING: Chestnut Trees in Autumn by Hubertine Heijermans (1977).


NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Emmaline Patrick Reardon is my granddaughter and is soaking up everything she can about life. And she finds it all delightful. So I am always looking for stuff to teach her, including the really big stuff.

PHOTO: The author’s granddaughter, Emmaline Patrick Reardon, with the tree featured in the poem, upper right.

Patrick T. Reardon copy

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patrick T. Reardon, a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee, is the author of ten books, including the poetry collections Requiem for David (Silver Birch Press) and Darkness on the Face of the Deep (Kelsay).His memoir in prose poems Puddin’: The Autobiography of a Baby is forthcoming from Third World Press, and his chapbook The Lost Tribes will be published in January 2022 by Gray Book Press. His poetry has appeared in America, Burningwood Literary Journal, Rhino, Meat for Tea, Under a Warm Green Linden, and many other journals. His Pump Don’t Work blog can be found at

maya moody licensed
How to Give a Hug
by Howard Richard Debs

It’s been forever
since we did it.
Today my twin
became teenagers.
Last time I saw
them in person,
it was their grandma’s
turn to have a birthday
I won’t tell which one.
Let’s just say she was not
yet a teen herself
when Bill Haley &
His Comets hit number one
with “Rock Around the Clock”
and Twinkies had been
packed in school lunchboxes
for a pretty good while before
she came along.
Her birthday this time around
coincided with a year’s
worth of pandemic,
still keeping us apart,
from family, friends, those
dear to us, the ones we love.
So on that occasion
we only saw the twins briefly
masked and social distanced
on our driveway; one of them
baked a cake which we rationed,
savored for quite a while,
sweet pieces of recollection
of how it used to be.
I read an article about
all this, it states that touch
is the only sense crucial
to humans’ survival.
This day, with our CDC
vaccination cards filed
carefully away, out of practice
for sure, we reached
with arms wide encircling
each child pressing them
close, holding them as if
we would never let them go.

PHOTO ART: Hugs and Kisses Banner by Maya Moody, used by permission.

Debs1 a special hug

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Some things seem instinctive, natural. Until you can’t do that thing, until it is precluded, taken away. Then you have to in a sense relearn it. I try in my writing to call attention to that which is mostly not fully acknowledged about common and ordinary things we do. That even the elemental act of a hug is built layer upon layer of what comes to make it special. The physical act itself is accompanied in the back of our mind maybe with the remnant of the taste of a birthday cake, a fondly remembered bite of a Twinkie from long ago perhaps, a recollection of dancing with someone in our life to a favorite song many years before. Touching is certainly one thing essential to our being human. Many of us surely more fully recognize how important this and other kinds of human interactions are out of the sad experience of this pandemic; hopefully, we will not soon forget what we have come to better appreciate, what we have learned about what really matters during this unprecedented time.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Me hugging the twins, now teens; it will always be a special hug for me, on a special day for them.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Howard Richard Debs is a recipient of the 2015 Anna Davidson Rosenberg Poetry Award. His essays, fiction, and poetry appear internationally in numerous publications. His photography is featured in select publications, including in Rattle online as “Ekphrastic Challenge” artist and guest editor. His book Gallery: A Collection of Pictures and Words (Scarlet Leaf Publishing), is the recipient of a 2017 Best Book Award and 2018 Book Excellence Award. His latest work Political ( is a nominee for the 2021 Eric Hoffer Awards. He is co-editor of New Voices: Contemporary Writers Confronting the Holocaust, forthcoming in later 2021 from Vallentine Mitchell of London, publisher of the first English language edition of the diary of Anne Frank. He is listed in the Poets & Writers Directory.