The coming dawn a whisper on the wind.
Remembering a promise left to keep,
A promise never to rescind.
To one who sits, and thinks, and waits,
I must arise, not hesitate.
Sad, alone, and feeling hunger,
Hope is all he has to hold.
As memories of being younger,
Help to push back bitter cold.
Everything else seems to fade,
Except the thought of a promise made.
I had seen him in the park,
Sitting beside all he owned.
Bundled against the coming dark,
Wishing the night could be postponed.
He looked at me so beaten down,
But a smile I saw, and not a frown.
A stranger once had stopped to talk,
A nice young man, who held my eyes.
He said he came here just to walk,
I looked for truth, and saw no lies.
He passed a bag of food, and turned,
Then stopped, and promised to return.
I rush along and look around,
an empty bench where silence greets.
Ahead I see upon the ground,
The one I promised by a tree.
Whispered words, a gentle shake,
Is all he needs to come awake.
A familiar face framed by the sun,
I recognize, and soon remember.
A promise made, this is the one,
He visited me this past September.
He reaches down to grasp my hand,
He pulls me up, I try to stand.
I’m sorry that it took so long,
I was afraid and couldn’t sleep.
I wish I could’ve been more strong,
A promise made, I need to keep.
No more tears, please don’t be sad,
It’s time to come home now….. Dad.
The poem was inspired by real-life events. A friend’s Father had suffered for years from mental illness, had abandoned his family, and became homeless. My friend was twelve when his Father left. As a young adult he went in search of his Father, and found him in a park. His Father was older, frailer, still suffering from mental illness, and didn’t recognize his son. I did include in the poem that the father had a smile and not a frown. I like to think that the Father did, in some way recognize his son, and felt some joy at the first meeting. My friend gave his Father some food and promised to return. It took a few months before he returned. It was because he was still fighting his own anger towards His Father for having abandoned him at a young age. He did eventually return, brought his Father home, and got him some much-needed help. The poem starts with the son awakening a few months after seeing his Father in the park, and remembering the promise he made to return. Each verse then moves back and forth between the perspectives of the Father and son.