The poem below is one I found in a box of my mom’s favorite poems. She had this one memorized and used to recite it (along with others she had committed to memory) at various public gatherings and her Rebekah’s Lodge meetings.
Used to wonder just why Father
Never had much time for play;
Used to wonder why he’d rather
Work each minute of the day.
Used to wonder why he never
Loafed along the road and shirked.
Can’t recall a single time whenever
Father played, while others worked.
Father never dressed in fashion,
Sort of hated clothing new;
Style with him was not a passion,
He had other things in view.
Boys are blind to much that’s going
On about ’em day by day.
And I had no way of knowing
What became of Father’s pay.
All I knew was when I needed
Shoes, I got ’em on the spot
Everything for which I pleaded
Somehow, Father always got.
Wondered, season after season,
Why he never took a rest
And that I might be the reason,
That, I never even guessed.
Wanted me to go to college
Dad was great on learning stuff
Always said that having knowledge
Helped a man through places rough.
But I thought it too much bother,
And I loitered day by day,
Wasting time, ignoring a Father,
Now I know I’ll have to pay.
Saw his cheeks were getting paler,
Didn’t understand just why;
Saw his body growing frailer,
Then at last I saw him die.
Rest had come, his tasks had ended,
Calm was written on his brow;
Father’s life was big and splendid –
And I understand it now.