Thursday, August 26, 2010

Sam & Bernie


Bernie’s eyes were growing dim
his heart and lungs were failing him
he’d lost his hair and strength to age
but years ago, up on the stage,

he’d make that grand piano sing
just like a lark, those keys would ring,
and 30 years of students passed,
their lives changed by a Spanish class.

Sammy’s eyes were sharp and clear
he’d lost some hair, could barely hear
from radiation, chemo, vials
of pills from all the clinic trials.

He loved his swim and soccer teams,
was full questions, hopes and dreams,
fought that cancer, unafraid,
a superhero in fourth grade.

Sam and Bernie met one day
upon a cloud – they passed away.
Sammy trembled, looking down;
Bernie blinked and looked around

and in a quiet moment there
slowly, they became aware
of each other, as they drifted
gently upwards, gently lifted.

Bernie asked the kid his name;
Sammy told him, asked the same
and each could tell the other’s eyes
were kind and soft and warm and wise.

Bernie’d had no kids, no wife,
and Sam’d been sick for half his life;
“I wonder” Bernie said aloud,
“what luck this is – to share this cloud.”

“Maybe it’s not luck,” Sam said,
“to share this cloud – I guess I’m dead -
and mama told me that there’d be
an angel here, waiting for me.”


“I’m no angel,” Bernie grinned,
“just an old man, at his end.
Actually, thought you might be
an angel too, waiting for me.”

Bernie winked and Sammy smiled;
Bernie’s hand reached for the child
who took it softly in his own,
grateful they were not alone -

and that is how they headed for
the open arms of evermore -
hand in hand, as on they drifted,
gently upwards, gently lifted.


for my friends, sam (2000 – 2010) and bernie (1924 – 2010),
with love.

9 comments:

utopianfragments said...

it is a wonderful tribute, Joaquin. i am sorry for your loose

You know how to create a story, and how to tell it. and in rhymes too. i think i skip all rhyming blogs i know except for yours...

keep it running...

Karen said...

joaquin - This is so tender. Such a sweet tribute from someone who must be a wonderful friend. I hope Sam and Bernie did, indeed, meet on that cloud and comfort one another on their way.

The death of a child is too hard to even wrap the mind around. So sad.

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Truly, I believe Sam and Bernie are angels for one another. This is such a lovely poem - a very sad one, but uplifting at the same time, just as Bernie and Sammy are being lifted upwards into the best part of heaven.

This stanza made me CRY and smile.

Bernie winked and Sammy smiled;
Bernie’s hand reached for the child
who took it softly in his own,
grateful they were not alone -

I am sorry for your loss, Joaquin. Because of who you are - I am sure you will miss your friends greatly. xo xo

Terresa said...

What a sweet, heartfelt poem. As I read it, I wondered if, in fact, it was based on a real world relationship. RIP, Sam, Bernie.

Ink Champagne said...

Just joined lyrics and maladies and had to let you know I am a fan of your work already...and I haven't even read them all yet! :)

Kits said...

Sigh these words brought tears to my eyes. Lovely words Joaquin to honour those who have passed before us. God bless!

Dave King said...

Deliver that on stage and there'll not be a dry eye in the house. Superbly well done.

Julie said...

Dave's comment is right on, because I would love to hear you read this. I am very sorry for your loss, Joaquin. It is horrible when friends suffer and die (and that's an understatement). Sammy's chemotherapy puts a lump in my throat, as does the ending.

But you have written a beautiful tribute for them both. From Bernie's grand piano to Sammy's clear eyes and soccer classes, all of the details are wonderful depictions of their brave and colorful personalities. I love how they become angels for one another. Again, your compassionate heart shines through.

joaquin carvel said...

all - your kindness and support is, as always, incredible and deeply appreciated. and if you should ever find yourself looking for a worthy cause to support - sam, his parents and brothers, and his many, many friends would encourage you consider neuroblastoma research - sammy fought like a champ, but we need to kick this thing's ass.

u-frag - wow - thank you. i know some people are automatically turned off by rhyme - glad you're open to it. :)

karen - i hope so too. and yes - i can't even begin to imagine it without getting sick to my stomach. thank you.

k - "best part of heaven" - :) thank you. i do miss them - but i expect to see them again.

terresa - thank you. they didn't know each other but died on consecutive days - i couldn't help but imagine them meeting on the way up.

ink-champ (can i call you ink-champ?) - thank you! glad you dropped in - thanks for digging around, too. hope to see you again!

kits - i hope it honors them, even a little. thank you.

dave - i was trying to thread the needle between sincere and sentimental - so your comment means a lot. thank you, truly.

julie - thank you - not sure if i could read this out loud, at least for a while - but glad the two of them shone through. they were both amazing people.