Father I Hardly Knew

My father, who I hardly knew,
Was never one to shirk.
He died in nineteen twenty four,
While helping friends at work.

He came from Colorado,
Where the men were taught to ride.
He joined the Army Engineers,
And did the job with pride.

At first, he went to Texas,
Where he joined a border fight,
Controlling Pancho Villa;
And the Army did it right.

When more important war developed,
Far across the sea,
He went to France in World War One
To battle Germany.

When peace was won, he married young,
And started family.
But long and healthy life for him
Just wasn't meant to be.

A good mechanic, then, he was;
'Sixteenth and L, ' his base.
'A place for everything, ' he'd say,
'And everything in place.'

While helping string a high antenna,
From the shop, outside,
A rotted window sill gave way.
He fell.
That's how he died.


(Mother told her three children about their father as they grew up.
I wrote this poem about him in Falls Church, Virginia, during October 1985.)

by Frank V. Gardner

Comments (8)

It's good to know the story, but this form isolates from feeling, Frank.
So you were only about two years old when he left this life. This was a very nice tribute to him. I join John Richter in expressing my hope that you are still around to enjoy the recognition you will get from having this poem chosen by PH as poem of the day.
Yes this true life poem is pictured in the most sensitive way....people who serve ARMY needs kudos and accolades....
I was sad to know about the way your Dad died. But it's a nice poem.
A wonderful story about your dad Frank.... I hope you are still alive to hear this....
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