A poem for my grandfather. The first letter of each line spells out his name.
Bernard Orrin Joseph Flanders, 1912-2009
Bent over one of many art projects, he is perhaps
eyeing a stitch in a pattern, or
running his hands across the smooth surface of a
All of our houses have some
reminder of his artistry,
done on commission or by surprise,
or given over after a move to a smaller apartment.
Rarer pieces, such as the carved nameplates
resting from nails set
in doors of his own making, will
never pass from their owners’ hands, nor will our
joy dim each time we catch sight of
our names carved in the
Each of us holds onto whatever small treasures we’ve
placed so carefully in the bank of our memory.
He never seemed to understand the weight of his gift,
feigned embarrassment at our gushing praise,
lowered his eyes
and said, “It’s
don’t mention it.”
Each of holds onto whatever small treasurers we’ve
received from him, ever thankful that his love has been captured in
stitching or ivory or wood.