His Hours of Gladness

William Cullen Bryant House, Cummington, MA. June 29, 2008 Recorded by The Florence Poets Society for later broadcast on Northampton, MA Cable Television.

One of the Bryant poems remembers our brother, Jack, who left us in January 2008:


My late brother loved going back

To our dad’s village in Ireland

There he found rare peace in a

Spot where, he swore, his soul

Was born. John wasn’t deemed to

Be a poet like his namesake uncle.

No, his talents lay in hands that

Crafted and maintained our world.

Our grandfather could entertain a

Whole pub or party with stories in

Rhyme set to old tunes. Breathing in

His clan’s Kerry air cured Jack’s ills.

Younger sons get leftover

Attention at the first. They

Have to work harder to stand out

From their bigger brothers who

Crowd around absorbing a mothers’

Time, warmth, and light: three of life’s

Basic ingredients for sons of every age.

Fathers treat boys like they were men

Long before they’re ready. Younger

Sons, bereft of mothers, overestimated

By fathers, choose to leave home to find

Their due: respect and love, out where it’s

To be found. All the time though they’re

Drawn back to seek what they missed the

First time around, pulled back from being

Away, and dreaming of days that never

Were. Their life is betwixt, unfinished.

Love is God’s gift to our world. His son

Died that might live in hope. Old, young,

Or in between we are all his children. We

Are all loved beyond our imagining. Now

Heaven awaits our fair-haired boy, who’s

Been so long a traveling, Johnny’s been

So long at the fair: So, so long at the fair.

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