Poem: Two Lessons

Two Lessons

I suppose it is my father in me, that
when I see something old, abandoned,
a car, a home, broken things,
my mind immediately goes to how
restoration begins. The steps he taught me,
each one definite, each one with work, tasks,
purpose, “Anything can be saved.” he would tell me
and my house is full of examples of his truth.
Things repaired, rebuilt, refinished, recreated
from what looked like scraps and firewood.

My mother taught me a different lesson.
Hers about souls. The steps never certain,
each person different as God’s own creations,
“Not everyone can be saved.” she would tell me.
“but you never know until you love.”
Love. The first step. Where all restoration begins.
Where brokenness comes from: The lack
of love as it should be.
Sometimes love saves,
And sometimes it does not and you are left
with the broken, loving anyway
because at times, that is all you have,
all you can do. Love.

About this poem.

WIth apologies to every teacher who tried to teach me punctuation. The lessons took, but so did a contrarian attitude my grandfather taught me, that language, all things, are meant to bend to our will, not the other way around.

My parents never actually said those words. But they did live them. And I have internalized them.

The picture is of an old truck I pass each time I drive to nearby Salem, NY,


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