March 4, 2016

Two Poems By David Allen: "Mandolin Therapy", "Darren's Humming"

David Allen is poet and freelance writer living in Central Indiana. He is a retired journalist with 36 years on newspapers in Virginia, and the Far East, the last 19 years as Guam and Okinawa Bureau Chief for Stars and Stripes, the daily newspaper for the American military community overseas. He has been published in several on-line poetry magazines and has two books of poetry, “The Story So Far” and “(more),” both available from Amazon.   He has been married to his Muse, Ruth Ellen, for 27 years.

Portrait of Brother David with Mandolin, 1914, Marc Chagall

Mandolin Therapy
My father plays the mandolin
when life begins to close him in;
playing old folk tunes and country airs,
music helps to soothe his cares
and ease his life.
And he plays,
           when the need for drink
           clouds his brain
           and he can’t think.
He plays,
           when the bills are high
           and cash is low
           when my mother cries.
He plays,
           into the night
           but it never seems
           to come out right.
He plays the mandolin
when life begins to close him in.
He plays.

(Ode to an autistic child)

Darren’s humming
some secret Darren song
as I sit here smiling,
humming right along,
marveling at his easygoing style,
humming to myself awhile.

While Darren’s humming
in his high chair,
blocking me out
like I’m not there,
turning his toy car
upside down,
making it spin
‘round and ‘round
as he hums
his secret song.

And I find myself
humming right along
and show him
a one-handed spin
as he watches
and, humming,
he takes it in
and holds his car
in his right hand
and twirls it,
showing he’s the man
who can learn
while humming
his secret song
and I smile
and hum along.

We’re in tune,
my first grandson and I,
two generations getting by
a duet, humming
right along
Darren’s secret
humming song.

~David Allen 

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