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By John I. Blair

My father had a name that no one ever used.
Instead we called him Bud, or Uncle Bud,
Blair, C.I., Cast Iron, or Dad,
A bluff and earthy man with sunburned skin
Who knew rough tales and hammered nails or tin
Like some Viking god.

But he had another side.

Clarence read books by hundreds,
Knew the names of all the trees and birds he saw,
Made pretty things of wood,
Carved willow whistles, blew smoke rings,
Showed how a top is spun,
Loved children and was loved by them,
And, despite his deafness,
Often hummed a quiet tune.

We should all retain a special name
Just initiates can know;
For what lies inside may not always
Match the face we show.

2003 John I. Blair

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