Posted by: Helen Gobble | June 8, 2011

Happy Father’s Day

Originally uploaded by Helen Gobble

Double Exposure

I was just a lad but I remember walking through a woodland with my dad.

I tried to put my arms around a tall and stately tree,

But shy half-way was all the reach I had.

I found a grassy spot and stretched myself out on the ground

To gaze at tree-tops tall with scarce a piece of sky around.

“Come on,” I heard my father say; “stay close beside me all the way:

Just look around, what do you see?” I looked, I turned,

I stared in awe, and answered “Trees.”

“That’s right,” he said, “and what’s behind those trees we may not see…

That’s why it’s so important that you keep in sight of me.”

I frolicked here, I scampered there, curious to know

Why fuzzy leaf and prickly weed did so abundant grow …?

But when no answer came I ran to him and slapped his leg — at play.

Then merrily I skipped ahead, and heard him say, “Now don’t go far away.”

But as I said, I was a lad, and curious to see…

My little feet just fairly flew, from leaf to flower, from tree to tree.

A sudden movement caught my eye, a tiny yellow butterfly

He lit (a second) then flew on. I chased him til my strength was gone.

My little legs, they just gave way, and all at once I knew … and said,

“I’ve come too far.” My little heart was filled with dread.

My tear-filled eyes searched everywhere; he was not there — not anywhere!

I strained my little ears to hear, there was no sound of footsteps near.

“Hurry, Dad,” I whispered, “See, I’m just so tired, please carry me.”

Great big tears began to fall, my tiny voice seemed oh so small.

In all that wide expanse of trees … I cried, “I’m here, find me please!

I’m scared and lost, hear me, Dad, I’m really sorry I was bad.”

Then all at once my dad was there and there was sunshine everywhere.

His arms were strong, yet gentle, as he put me on his shoulder with great care.

But trees reached out to scratch my face and so

He slid me down into his arms instead, and in reflection now I know:

He was lost to me, I was never lost to him … he was nearby.

He saw, he knew, he understood, he listened and he heard my cry.

My mind is torn between the present and the past. Remembering I hear

The strong and steady beating of his heart. I’m found, I sleep, I know no fear–

The trees are thinning now, we reverse roles. I am the father — and so…

The memories go back to the place wherever memories go.

My own son, cradled in my aching arms — stirring now — he feels the sun

Warm on his face. Enormous dark eyes meet mine as he says sleepily, “Daddy,

That was fun!” and adds (this I had forgotten until now)

“Put me down. Can we stay?”

Refreshed after his nap he wants to play — soon he will tire again — “Yes,” I say.

And I sit on the rock where my dad probably sat … it seems ages ago.

And only now do I realize and understand just what he wanted me to know.

With his mind and heart a double lens, focused straight and true,

He was developing in my small heart … a photograph of God. Now I know,

And knowing, bow my head and worship the God of my father, who loves me so,

Who goes ahead, walks beside, and follows if I stray — loving me, watching me — as I go.

And I wonder, was my focus just as true? Will the photograph be clear some day?

Will he, my son, perhaps sit here, just as I now do …

And watch his child at play … and worship You? ~~.~~

p. 41, Bits and Pieces and More.



  1. I enjoyed reading this again, and thinking of walks through the woods with Daddy. I am so grateful for the priceless gift of a loving father. Thanks, Mom, for choosing so well!

    Daddy, I miss you every day.

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