My Great-Grandfather T.J. Kennedy wrote a book called The Hope of Tomorrow and Other Poems. In November 2014 I was given a copy by his daughter’s daughter Peggy Carlson to cherish – which I plan to do forever!
The day I received it fittingly I wrote a poem — shared here:
Your Book of Poems
I was given your book of poems today.
Asked to borrow but instead made owner.
Handed down to the next generation of you.
It was a known but unseen family treasure.
Until today when your daughter’s daughter
Placed in your son’s son’s daughter’s hands
Your thirty-four years of effort and wisdom wrapped in poems
Fit into five and one half by ten inches
and one hundred eighteen aging pages.
In my youth I saw five copied pages,
which were all too soon misplaced.
It took twenty more years to feel the compulsion
to see the book, touch it, read it.
To know the depths of your wisdom,
through a one-way conversation.
Perhaps because I had my own daughter
And could see the clock of life ticking
And the risk of losing the last tangible piece of you
into the unbound pages of history
Save for that shelf in the Library of Congress
that holds one of three other known copies.
I was given your book of poems today
and after each page breathes its life
into the hands and eyes of another generation
it will sit, in a place of honor,
behind closed glass doors
Until your son’s son’s daughter’s daughter
is ready to know her great-great-grandfather
just as your great-granddaughter
Finally got to know a part of you.