Linda Kulp Trout

Monday, August 1, 2011

Remembering Grandpa

My grandfather always made me feel special. He loved to play his old banjo and have me sing along. He taught me the words to his favoritie song, "Bye-Bye Blackbird." We'd sit together in the kitchen and sing it over and over. Whenever I think of him, I think of that song. It was impossible to feel sad when he was around.
Sadly, his life was short and my sons never got to know him. I wrote this poem in memory of him for Father's Day.

Singing Lessons

Every Sunday after supper, Grandpa
takes out his banjo.
A rush of music
fills the empty air
like a flock of blackbirds—
and he asks me to sing.

Together, on the porch swing, we sing.
Sitting there with Grandpa,
our songs call out to the blackbirds
while his fingers fly across the banjo
sweetening the air
with our family music.

As sunlight turns to starlight, the music,
the laughter, and the bright way we sing
warm the chilly air.
I slide closer to Grandpa,
one with him and his banjo:
"Bye, bye blackbirds."

We serenade the blackbirds.
The fluttering sound of music
strumming the banjo,
and voices that need to sing
surround Grandpa
and me with ribbons of air.

Protecting us from the cool night air
like a nest wrapped around two blackbirds
covers me in music
teaching me to sing
even when there's no banjo.

A worn out old banjo,
the taste of words soaring through the air,
a chance to clap my hands and sing,
cherishing a gathering of blackbirds,
the freedom of music:
gifts from Grandpa.

Just a banjo and some blackbirds
replenish the air with music
as I sting, still, with Grandpa.
Linda Kulp- all rights reservered


  1. Linda,

    That's a lovely tribute to your grandfather. It's sad that your sons didn't get to know him. My maternal grandfather was special to me. He didn't make music--he tended his vegetable garden and his fruit trees. He loved watching things grow.

  2. Thank you, Elaine. My grandfather had a vegetable garden too, but it was his music that I remember most.
    Hope you're getting lots of writing done!

  3. This is really wonderful. I have recently started studying sestinas and I am baffled by the form. You really nailed it here!