Country Porch (Reprise)

I’ve lived me a good full long life
Ninety five years have come and gone
And more’n a few hundred things
Have I set eyes upon

I’ve seen birth, marriage and death
And ’bout everything in between
I guess there near ain’t anything
These old eyes haven’t seen

Now, take the piney rocker
That I am right now sitting in
This same ol’ chair was waiting there
Before my life begin

My momma nursed me in it and
My daddy bounced me on his knee
And filled these ears with everything
He thought a man should be

I listened with my whole small heart
And kept it in my growing mind:
A real man is a gentleman
Dependable and kind

As life pursued its curving path
I had to find out on my own
Some of those timeless wisdoms
That my old man had known

But now that he’s in heaven
Enjoying his eternal rest
I sometimes shake my head and think
He after all knew best

After my boyhood came the time
I brushed this rocker off for she
Who gave life happiness the day
She swore my bride to be

I watched her nurse our children in
This chair, beautifully
Fear, sickness, pain and sleeplessness
She rocked them through with me

I bounced them as I had been bounced
When I could make them stay that still
And poured in wisdom when I could
Get them to take the pill

But seemed soon as I got this chair
Up to its gentle rhythmic creak
And settling down my scattered thoughts
Prepared myself to speak

Off the paternal knee they’d launch
Just like so many wind up toys
And fly to every otherwhere
A teenager enjoys

They’d come back home all scuffed up from
Adventures they would not have had
If they had listened as I’m sure
I listened as a lad

Though when my wife compassion pled
And turned me round to look at it
There were times I had gone astray
I did have to admit

She’d bring them deep into her arms
Then in this chair she’d set them down
And bring a moistened cloth with which
To wipe away the frown

Then one soon day I stepped outside
Astonished my young son to see
Brush this seat clear of leaves and dust
For his own bride to be

I took a lungful of good air
And silently stepped back inside
And then I went to find she who
Had been my own dear bride

We murmured of our memories
And sat up late to reminisce
Me in that chair right over there
And she of course in this

I saw that she’d had more of joy
Than sorrow writ upon her face
Hoping I’d not done her too wrong
Beside myself to place

As often, she could sense my mood
She leaned her body forward and
Smiling at me so tenderly
She reached to take my hand

She told me if that son of ours
Could make his wife one tenth as glad
Give her one tenth the memories
The two of us had had

Then never in creation was
A luckier, more blessed bride
Than her who’d live life walking by
His so deserving side

I know there’ll never be a time
No matter what else life may bring
When I will feel more noble —
I felt like a goll durn king!

The newlyweds settled nearby
Our first grandbaby came, and when
It started in to teething this
Chair found its use again

I had to laugh to see my son
Trying to teach propriety
To squirming bundles full of life
Bouncing upon his knee

Sometimes I sit here wond’ring why
We put those words on inner shelves
And come what may we have to go
Find out for our own selves

By pushing on the edges of
Misdeed and immorality
Just what the right and what the wrong
Of any happ’ning be

And then I also think sometimes
That if we didn’t have to learn
About it in our own lives, how
Would we compassion earn?

We never would suspect it, for
How could we ever come to know
An understanding of the man
Whose path has brought him low?

And if we sometimes should forget
That we ourselves have been unkind
Less than courageous, selfish or
To suffering been blind

And had no angel, as I had
To bring us gently to the truth
To honest remeniscence of
Our own relative youth

We’d likely arrogant become
With false superiority
Convinced within our ignorance
We are worth more than he

She kept me from it, more than once
But did it so forgivingly
I felt no lesser for the fact
I merely human be

And she reminded me as well
The punishment my own deep heart
Then meted out for misery
Of which I’d been a part

So I try now to look upon
A strangely acting fellow man
For her sweet sake, with tolerance
— At least, much as I can

The decades passed and one grandchild
Became about eleventeen
What gatherings of happiness
This friendly chair has seen!

Frolicking children on the lawn
Young lovers leaving for a walk
The ladies lie down for a nap
The men sit up to talk

This old chair’s had a hundred score
Cob pipeloads knocked out on its arm
Our wimmin never did find out
So it did no one harm

And then the ladies come back down
And oh, so gladly up I’d get
To see her in this rocking chair
I’m glad of that sight yet

Now she’s gone off ahead, of course
She told me that she had to see
About a few details to make
It comfortable for me

When I should give up smoking and
Come find her up the golden stair
I guess she found out anyway
I guess I’ll see her there

The kids and grandkids, great grandkids
The cousins to the tenth degree
Neices and nephews without count
Have somewhere else to be

It’s kind of quiet, kind of nice
To sit alone in this old chair
And think a moment ‘fore I move
On any otherwhere

My son will own it pretty soon
I’m wondering where it will go
I’m thinking not too long from now
I won’t be here to know

I wonder, when life’s lessons come
To educate my progeny
If any will recall this chair
And my instructive knee

And will they chuckle some and
Fondly shake their heads a bit
And tell themselves when said and done
I had the right of it?

It matters lots less than it did
I used to kinda hope, you know
When someone would remember me
Folks would respectful grow

But now I understand we each
Are wise in our own ways
And not in others, so we’ll help
Each other through our days

If no one needed sympathy
Unhappy, painful, hopeless, blind
How much alone we all would be
With no need to be kind

At least, that’s how it looks from here
Sittin’ in this ol’ piney chair
But that’s just me — my answers might
Not get you anywhere!

4 thoughts on “Country Porch (Reprise)

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