I wish I had seen this poem a month ago at the time of what would have been Dad's 100th birthday. Ted Kooser is one of my favorite poets. The poem is dated May 19, 1999 and is titled simply -
"Today you would be ninety-seven
if you had lived, and we would all be
miserable, you and your children,
driving from clinic to clinic,
an ancient, fearful, hypochondriac
and his fretful son and daughter,
asking directions, trying to read
the complicated, fading map of cures.
But with your dignity intact
You have been gone for twenty years,
and I am glad for all of us, although
I miss you every day -- the heartbeat
under your necktie, the hand cupped
on the back of my neck, Old Spice
in the air, your voice delighted with stories.
On this day each year you loved to relate
that at the moment of your birth
your mother glanced out the window
and saw lilacs in bloom. Well, today
lilacs are blooming in side yards
all over Iowa, still welcoming you."