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I Never Knew My Grandfather

By John I. Blair

I never knew my grandfather.
I mean my fatherís father . . .
The one for whom Iím named.
Iíve only seen him in a pair of photographs
Taken in small-town studios in Nebraska
A hundred years and more ago.

In one he is a husband,
A father, with two baby girls
And a pretty teenaged wife.

In the other heís yet a boy,
Sitting on a swing,
Holding a book of poetry in his lap.

In both heís dressed in ties and suits
And poses stiffly against a painted backdrop.

But these cannot be what he was really like.

He was the only son of a Union veteran,
Born in the sand hills at Broken Bow
And orphaned early.
Though he looks solemn in both the photos,
A boy who lived out on the wild frontier
Must have at times been wild himself.

So I like to picture that my grandfather,
Done for a while with posing,
Ran out the studio door into the street,
Shed his stiff and binding suit,
Then leaped astride his pony
And galloped off
Across the green and grassy prairie
To scout for Indians.

©2002 John I. Blair  

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