Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Poet For the Ages, My Dad...

My dad was a writer. He loved the written word and he loved books. In his 88 years, he wrote two novels, poems, stories and articles. Many of which were published. He even wrote and published a few cartoons for The New Yorker.

My sister, Robin, found this poem tucked in a box my dad had sent to her before he moved to Florida. I want to share it with you.


In the moment of the moment of remembering

in the empty moon-bathed street.

And beneath the street-light's arc, the shadow

running long, then short, then long.

And behind the doors, the darkened windows

night shades drawn, the lovers.

Hushed and heavy hangs the bow, the night

bird's startled cry cut short, the rumble of

the late train's passing.

At the crossing the whistle echoes, and the river

bridge over the water far below, moving

slowly towards the sea.

Oh, remembered of the nights in the shadows by

the lakeside ... the closeness, the feeling,

the touch.

Softly crossed the flesh, the curve of the bough,

arm-limbs arched and fingers pointing to-

wards the sky.

For in the moment in the nightness and the

moonlight is the doorway to all things loved

and all things feared.

For in the moment, time stops, and quivers in

the shadows .... and is gone.

* * Wendell E. Smith

From "Driftwind: A Magazine of Verse"

December 1948

My dad wrote this poem when he was 25, before he met my mother. It wasn't long after, that he met my mom and began passing notes under her door, as she didn't have a phone at that time. She and her mom had just moved into an apartment next door to my dad and his brother in Morristown, NJ. She once told me that she fell head-over-heels for him on their first date. They had so much in common. They both loved to read and to write, and they were both teachers. They both were youthful and looked like they were in their teens when they married in their late 20's. I am so thankful that we have this poem, and other works that he wrote. I hope that as we clean out my dad's things, and pour through the dozens of boxes he left behind, we will find many more of his writings and musings. He was a true poet for the ages.


  1. Thank you for this beautiful poem and touching story of our Dad. He will be missed.

  2. Oh, this is beautiful, Laurie. I have been thinking about you and your dad--you Smith writers!! ;-)