A Child of God and of Long Summer Afternoons

A short collection of poems by Lawrence “Mack in Texas” Hall


A Child of God and of Long Summer Afternoons

Do you remember lying on the grassy bank
On a summer afternoon, holding very still
Watching the minnows only inches from your eyes?
And do you remember the earthy smell

Of the amber-colored water?

How many moments in your adult life
Have been as good as that?


A Wheel is a Wonderful Thing

A wheel is a wonderful thing: it goes
Around-around-around-around-around
Until it doesn’t. And then you are sad
Because your little wagon is tripedal now

And so you dismount the wheel and tire
And take them to Mr. Shannon at his shop
He repairs the tire with a brand new tube
And your father sighs, “A tube cost that much?”

A wheel is a wonderful thing: it goes
Around the world with your little wagon

And with you


Learning to Comb Your Hair

Do you remember learning how to comb your hair?
Your mother had you look into the mirror
(What a handsome young man!)
And watch as she made magic with a comb

First, she chased all your hair forward and down
Until your eyebrows laughed for the fun of it
And then she chose an imaginary line
And parted the strands for the rest of the day

Hooray!

Do you remember learning how to comb your hair?
(Now in your mother’s memory send up a prayer)


Old Pete, a Mighty Hunter Before the Lord

A cigar box of childhood photographs
And there he is, that mighty courser – Old Pete
Thunder-Tail-Thumper, pal of barefoot boys
Chaser of rabbits and tasty table scraps

Always up for a ramble to the pond
In the day-dreamy midsummer heat
Where I pole-fished for perch, and good old Pete
Drowsed in the shade, and looked on me with love

I buried him under his favorite oak
Where, with eternity, he waits for me


When We Played Chase with Dust Devils

Long, long ago dust devils spun across
Our childhood playground where the school used to be
And we played chase with them across the sand
As they whipped up dry earth and long-dead leaves

They were a little scary in their speed
The way they funneled and circled around us
Malignant faces that appeared for moments
And disappeared again – surely only dust?

I didn’t think they meant us any harm
But looking back just now – I’m not so sure


A Little Child Lacing Her Shoes
For Sarah, of course

She is as proud, as she can be, and I –
I too am proud, watching her twist her tongue
In thought – the rabbit pops into its hole
To emerge on the other side – hello!

She is as proud as she can be, but I
Am a little bit sad as she stands up now
Dancing in place to make the heel-lights twink
Then giggling, “Catch me, Daddy!” as she runs away

And I play-chase, knowing that all too soon
There won’t be little lights for me to follow


Grandpa and the Kid

Grandpa gives his boy a toy truck
Or better yet a clanking army tank
Or maybe a plastic shovel and pail
Or a real Roy Rogers cowboy hat

And the little boy’s hovering mother clucks:
“Now what do you say to Grandpa? Tell me!
Say to Grandpa ‘Thank you.’ We say ‘Thank you!’
No, don’t just run away; say ‘Thank you!’

And Grandpa smiles and lights his favorite pipe
(His daughter rolls her disapproving eyes)
She sees tonight’s bath in the sand and grass
But Grandpa sees beyond this time and place

His boy builds a road, a fort, a castle, a corral
And Grandpa thanks God for his little pal

What do you think?

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