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The Old Man

by Bob Peterson

He tried, oh he tried, but was always denied
To be who he so wished to be.
And though he might seek, he was always too weak
To break old chains and be free.

A man of great might, always trying to do right,
But his strength couldn't right what was wrong.
He would laugh and tease, he was eager to please,
A man just wanting to belong.

Let it be understood, there was much to the good
And to like in this father I knew.
But as a man of God, he was a bit flawed.
Especially from his own point of view.

Not seeing the good, I had not understood.
I judged him for who he was not.
In my own judgement court, he often fell short.
Of the kind of father I'd sought.

But that pristine ideal had never been real,
Not for him and certainly not for me.
In truth what we find, as one of mankind,
We struggle with the reflection we see.

I make no excuse for sin or abuse.
Its consequence we must all face.
But the older I grow the more I come to know,
The importance of leaning on grace.

Now with older eyes I've come to realize,
That old man did the best that he knew.
To walk the right way, on feet made of clay,
Is something not easy to do.

I love that old man, the head of our clan,
And am thankful for who he became.
Though short of ideal, it made him more real,
And I proudly carry his name.

Now I try, oh I try, but I can not deny,
That I'm not the man I wish to be.
It was never the plan to become that old man
But I'm finding more of him in me.

So, I send up a prayer and my need I declare,
God, I need you more each passing day.
Grant me strength and grace for the struggles I face.
Lord, help me to walk in Your way.

Though I would not choose my father's old shoes,
Life doesn't follow my plan.
So, God, I too, will fall upon You,
To carry this tired old man.

This poem won first place for the March 2022 poetry contest

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Book by Bob Peterson

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