Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Papa Bear Still Dreams

In one of my favorite movies, Three Men and a Baby, Tom Selleck's character is the decision-maker and leader of a trio of bachelors, two of whom are middle-aged adolescents. Near the end of the movie, he despairs of solving his romantic problems because of all the responsibilities he bears, and one of the other characters, in a flash of insight, says: "It's not easy being Papa Bear..."

The long and winding path of life often takes you places you did not intend. Papa Bear has to make his family’s journey a safe one. He is charged with responsibility, and occasionally, in the quiet times, dreams of the day his family takes over­ -- and is he is only responsible to be himself.

In today's world, however, Papa Bear's journey never seems to end. Only on the dream path does he meet his younger self. Only there are all his friends and ancestors still alive. Only there can he watch himself, as he was when the rush of youth was upon him.

This poem walks the dream path -- where the hopes and dreams of youth still play and dance, despite the insidious limitations brought on by an aging shell.


Papa Bear Still Dreams

The sadness in his eyes betrays,
With subtle shades of trepidation,

The tiny smile his mouth displays,
So fraught with grim determination.

The waltz he danced in younger days,
With feet both swift and daring, eager;
Now tires his frame in unkind ways,
And drains his passion, thinner...meager.

His fire, now burning bitter herbs,
His massive frame once straight, is bending.
His basket full of action verbs,
Once vast, now all relate to ending.

His friends are dying, one-by-one.
He feels his comrades, all deserting
His love, which once burned like the Sun.
Now wounded, it lies abed, hurting.

An ancient soul, long bound in chains,
Striving without hope against his yokes,
He unrepentantly remains
The struggling butt of so many jokes...

His golden years have turned to lead,
Even though his alchemy was sound.
Yet, his sweet dreams are not quite dead,
Cherished reveries are still around.

And in his bed, still as stone -
Near motionless on home-bound gurney,
He watches them, and walks alone,
On dream-lit paths through night's long journey.

Mick McKellar
May 2010

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