(For Louis Martin Lalonde, nieto jovencito)
He stood on a box when he eagerly squealed
“ ‘Lolo! Come, help me build a castle! Come!”
Not the usual sulky, sullen, silence slicing
through the interloper who has come to retrieve
his doting abuela. His jaunty leap toppled
the box of Lego blocks spilling helter-skelter
amid clucking cuidado-warnings from her
who wondered what kindled the stripling elf
into this challenge that bewildered him who
seemed to dodder with the lilt of entreaties
rushing out like a burst of rainwater dammed
on a creek, now freed of flotsam and debris,
now on a lower key: Please, ‘lolo? Please?
Gingerly, the hapless dotard plugged holes
with stubby poles, while the littlest builder
yelled design demands shrieking with glee
that soon enough he will grow a castle out
of his dreams, tall on the rug by the fireplace,
and he shall have his throne, and cars galore.
Like all grandfathers before him or after,
he chuckled a praise for the boy suddenly
turned to a builder-man: Good work, hijo mio!
Under his breath, he also lisped a wistful
plea to the walls around him or whoever
could hear an old man’s prayer:
Please, let him build them strong, and not
destroy; and for my nieto jovencito, to never
forget that there are grander castles in the air.
Please, let him grow like the creek,
when freed of silt will turn to clearest blue.
O, let him flow like the river and find his sea.
—ALBERT B. CASUGA
Mississauga, Ont. 03-03-11
Three days past the last rain, the creek sings in a lower key, like a boy turning into a man. Free of silt, it’s learning how to be blue.---Dave Bonta, The Morning Porch, 03-03-11 (http://www.morningporch.com/)