Grandpa’s Ditties

October 25, 2012 § Leave a comment

Grandpa’s Ditties
Kevin Heaton

Grandpa was born in 1896, and could play
just about anything with strings attached.
What pulled most at his heart, was an old fiddle
that he kept on top of a china cabinet
in the corner near his rocking chair; where
he fell asleep every night listening to Kansas
City Athletic’s games on a Philco dial radio.

He worked part-time for the highway department;
setting out kerosene warning flares that looked
like bowling balls without holes.

During the 20’s, and throughout Depression Era
days, he set great store in playing that fiddle
at barn raisings, and harvest dances; where neighbors
could find brief but welcome respite from hardship
in simple food and fellowship. Civil war ditties
frequented the menu; passed down to him
by the same fingers that first plucked his fiddle.

When his lame shoulder wasn’t throbbing,
and I asked him just right, he’d take her down
off the china cabinet, rosin up the bow, and with
a work boot conducting: take us down dusty,
forgotten pikes lined with blue, and gray soldiers;
marking cadence on the road to their awakening:

Ride a Scotch horse
to Danbury cross,
see an old woman
upon a white horse.
Rings on her fingers,
and bells on her toes—
she shall have music
wherever she goes, and goes…..

  _____________________________________________________

Grandpa’s Ditties was previously published in Tidal Basin Review

Pushcart Prize nominee Kevin Heaton writes in South Carolina. His work has appeared in a number of publications including: Raleigh Review, Mason’s Road, Foundling Review, The Honey Land Review, and elimae. His fourth chapbook of poetry, Chronicles, has just been released by Finishing Line Press. He is a 2011 Best of the Net nominee.

Image: Halifax Harbour, By Leigh-Anne Fraser

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