Mr. Alex (part three)

Mr. Alex

I came to call him Mr. Alex
At his request of course
A compromise of familiarity
If not a complete capitulation
He had been a High school English Teacher
Contracted polio at 38
And had to learn to live again
Accepting the limitations of his existence
Escaping to his library, once the living room
Books on shelves from floor to ceiling
Spilling into boxes on the floor
And onto every surface he could find
Never married, and the last in line
Of the generations that had worked
The fertile ground along the creek
Born in 1860 near the civil war
Though he never spoke of it
He was just a child
I never asked him many questions
Never probed, never doubted
Learning from him the sacred skill
Of acceptance and non judgment
The coal bin in the basement
Had been a secret room
Where slaves escaping from the south
Would spend a night or two
On their way north to safety
His religion was called “Friends”
Though he was not a religious man
He hated war and prejudice
Loved his books and memories
One by one he told his stories
To the curious child beside his chair
I’ve forgotten most of them
But not the lessons imbedded in the words

I have cast a fly over many waters
Since that time
The fly rod he gave me lost in a fire
He passed at the age of 98
While I was away in college
Studying to be an artist
And teacher
I was sent the notice from the paper
And recalled the somber august day
When the bugles played taps
For my fathers passing
Echoing from the late summer hills
It was the same emotion
The same sense of loss
He was the second of many fathers
I would find as I grew and learned
And few have woven themselves into my being
As this gentle man they thought was mean
This crippled man they thought was helpless
A teacher who taught more than English
To a lost child who crossed his path
On the way to the creek for a day of fishing
Providence is not a random gift.

Mr. Alex (part three)

Boyd Miller

Newport, United States

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Artist's Description

The third and final part of “Hey Kid”.

Artwork Comments

  • lianne
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