SOME OF TED'S POEMS

 

THE BALLAD OF JOHNNY COOL

In the corner of a wheat field, on a hot summer day,

Under a tall oak tree with child she lay.

With no doctor, or midwife she voiced her plea.

“Oh lord let it live, if you must, please take me.”

Then with a final push her prayer was heard,

As she passed from this world without one more word.

And the cry of the child was long and loud,

As he greeted the world strong and proud.

And that newborn baby so soft and warm,

Grew lean and hard working his daddy’s farm.

He had eyes the color of cold blue steel,

But inside beat a heart that was true and real.

Beside his daddy from first light of dawn,

They worked the fields till the sun was gone.

Then while cleaning the barn, one fateful day,

He discovered a guitar, while moving some hay.

He took it to the house but before he could ask,

His daddy’s face became a painful mask.

“Where’d you get that thing?”  He said with a roar,

As he hurled the instrument out the door.

The boy hung his head and shuffled his feet.

“It was under the hay, buried real deep.”

“Well git rid of it that thing is straight from hell,

It ruined my life and took your mother, Belle.”

The boy picked up the guitar and took it back to the barn,

And stashed it away, to keep it from harm.

And from that day on every chance he could,

He took that guitar deep in the woods.

He learned all the chords and sang all the songs,

And wondered how this could be so wrong.

Then behind his daddy’s back he took a chance,

Started playing and singing at the local dance.

One day an agent showed up and sat at the bar,

Said “Who is that boy?  I’m goin to make him a star.”

Said  “Sign here son, this is all for you.

Come with me Johnny Cool, I’ll make your dreams come true.”

So Johnny signed that paper and became a star,

People flocked to see him from near and far.

He sang from his soul in a fevered pitch,

And made everyone around him filthy rich.

But the constant grind took a heavy toll,

Started eating away at Johnny Cool’s soul.

Til tired and lonely he couldn’t go on,

Took to booze and drugs til the money was gone.

Then in a dingy hotel at the end of nowhere,

Johnny hit the bottom and no one was there.

As his soul cried out in deep despair,

God sent his light to answer the prayer.

And that answer was there as clear as a bell,

So Johnny started the climb from his self made hell.

He slung his guitar over his back,

And headed down the road t’ward his daddy’s shack.

As he rounded the corner and saw the farm,

He wondered if his daddy would be cool or warm.

But as soon as the old man spied the boy,

He opened his arms offering comfort and joy.

So now their back in the fields side by side,

Working the land with sweat and pride.

And every morning when Johnny hears the roosters call,

He takes a look at that guitar hangin on the wall.

And though he has the urge to put it in his hands,

He leaves it there and goes back to the land.

Then one cold winters night with the fire ablaze,

His daddy picked up the guitar and asked him to play.

Said “I been thinkin son, if it’s in your blood,

You’ve got to play and sing to release the flood”.

“Your momma Belle was exactly the same,

She was also seduced by the devil’s game”.

“So I took that guitar out of her hand,

And that’s how we came to farm this land”.

“I knew from the start that it wasn’t her thing,

But I thought it would work if I gave her the ring”.

“And she tried, oh lord how she tried,

She fought all the demons with her stubborn pride”.

“Until that day under the tall oak tree,

She left this world, a tiny baby, and me”.

“It’s taken all these years but I’ve come to see,

You can’t deny anyone what their born to be”.

“So play this here guitar and sing your songs,

The joy you get from music can’t be wrong”.

So every night out past the old ruins,

You can hear Johnny Cool belting out those tunes.

He still sings those songs from deep in his soul,

But fame and fortune is no longer his goal.

And as his daddy rocks under a blanket of stars,

Far from the noise of people and cars.

He swears when the wind hits that tall oak tree,

He can hear his Belle singin harmony.

             Edward L. Sillito      Feb. 2000

 

THE LAST ONE

He was born near the end of an era,

With civilization close at hand.

And as long as he could remember,

He has heard the call of the land.

So he said goodbye to his Ma and Pa,

As he pulled on his shiniest boots.

Joined up with the next wagon train,

And headed west, to set down roots.

But he would spend the rest of his days,

In a saddle strapped to a nag.

And all his worldly possessions,

Would fit in his saddle bags.

With interest he watched the evolution,

As he continued to ply his trade.

Of planes and trains and automobiles,

As tracks and blacktops were laid.

Then as man began to conquer the stars,

And computers took over their minds.

He turned his steed farther away,

Searching for more of his kind.

For he’ll not change his way of life,

Mother earth will remain his floor,

Clouds and stars will be his ceiling,

And he’ll never need a door.

And as the years descend upon him,

He’ll sit wrinkled and bent by a fire.

Wondering where it all has gone,

Waiting for his life to expire.

 

And we’ll not know when his time has come,

Not the minute, the means, or the way.

And as much as we may think so,

We won’t even know the day.

We won’t know his strengths or fears,

Whether he was healthy or lame.

If he was tired or sad or lonely,

We won’t even know his name.

And when he takes that final breath,

We’ll all have reason to mourn.

For once he has left this earth,

Not another will be born.

And the stars won’t twinkle quite so bright,

When we gaze at the midnight sky.

For a way of life will be gone forever,

When the last cowboy dies.

Edward L. Sillito 

 

THE LETTERS

My Daddy wasn't there when I was born,

He was fighting a war on a foreign shore.

Momma heard about bombs and how cities burn.

But she never dreamed he wouldn't return.

Momma never complained about her plight,

She did her best to bring us up right.

She taught us all we needed to know,

And through the years we continued to grow.

I often wondered how my life would be,

If he hadn't left Momma two sisters and me.

Would his love of the music have owned my soul?

Or would his feel of the soil have been my goal?

And as I grew I began to ponder;

What was he really like.......I wonder?

Then one day Momma said to me,

“Come here son I got something you should see”.

She handed me a long blue box,

And with a tiny key, opened the lock.

The inside was filled with dozens of letters.

“It's time”, she said, “that you knew him better”.

They were dated back about fifty years,

And were full of love laughter and tears.

Cause from the time my Daddy went away,

They wrote each other every day.

 

So Like some actor rehearsing for a play,

I read every line on every page.

And I felt my heart begin to surge,

As slowly a man began to emerge.

 

A man with fears, and dreams, and doubts,

A bit of a rebel and sometimes a lout.

But he loved my Momma and he loved us kids.

For us there's nothing he wouldn't give.

 

He liked movies and dancing and he loved to sing,

And above everyone else his yodel would ring.

He had style, he had wit, and a con artists charm,

But he never used it to cause anyone harm.

Now I have deeper insight into my dad

And when I think of him I won’t be so sad.

For those wonderful letters have helped me to see.

Who he was and he’s now familiar to me

And that little blue box is back in it’s drawer,

It will be safe and remain there forever more.

Until a grandchild climbs up upon my knee.

And is curious about his grandfather, just like me.

I’ll hold him close and say “I understand”,

Then like my mother before me I’ll take his hand.

And place him gently on the floor, in front of me,

And say “Come here son, I’ve got something you should see”.

 

                                    

EDWARD L. SILLITO   Dec. 1995

 

A FRIEND

To always be there,

through good times and bad.

To offer a shoulder,

or lend them your ear.

To laugh when they laugh,

and cry when they cry.

To take hold of their hand,

when others pass them by.

To be willing to share,

all that you have.

Though they may possess,

much more than you.

To forgive any transgressions,

whether large or small.

To never ask for perfection,

And overlook any flaws.

And if you should choose,

to never keep score.

To leave envy and jealousy,

checked at the door.

If you can do all this,

all the way to the end.

Then you’ve earned the honor,

to be called their friend.

e.l. sillito

feb. 1998