My Father's Voice

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Night after night, I listened
to my father's voice as it crept
up the stairs to my cold bedroom
my twelve-year-old mind not quite
grasping the full meaning of its earnest
pleading tone, knowing only
that it fought for my soul.
There would be my father, a proud man
kneeling at a dining room chair
surrendering to you, night after night
while I listened to the earnest pleading
in the stillness of my room
for your answer. When his voice
stopped, the stillness remained.

Now, decades removed, I pray
silently from an upstairs bedroom
remembering the souls of my
children and grandchildren as he
did then. In the stillness
of my night, I listen again
understanding that you listen
in silence also. And so now
I continue, night after night
raising my voice silently so that
only you might hear what I
in turn, surrender, an echo
of my father's voice, still recalled
from those times long past.

About the Author

Arie Staal is a retired English professor who lives in Ann Arbor, Mich. He is a member of the Ann Arbor Christian Reformed Church.