25 Dec


  In the spirit of this season, celebrating the sacredness of family, we offer a poem in honor of parents throughout the world:   parents of every race, parents of every creed and those without, parents of every country, and, most especially, those parents who are now struggling against all odds to care for and protect their children.






I can see him now, sitting in the cellar,

In front of the flame of the coal furnace.

He would take the strips of stainless steel

And hold them over the flame until they were heated through.


These strips of steel he brought home from the bomber plant,

No doubt, the leavings of some machine die work,

Would become in his hands shiny interweavings of adornment;        

Some so delicate we feared they would break,


Others, thick and heavy and beautiful in their boldness.

I would watch him, excited at the thought

That I would wear such lovely bangles;

That I would wear bracelets my Father made for me.


He made so many, all perfect in their twists and turns.

For years, I would wear five or six on my arm.

Strangers would ask me where I had bought them.

With pride, I would say “My Father made them for me.”


Now, when I think of him, I wonder how it occurred to him

To make bracelets for his daughter from left-over

Steel strips he found as he labored far away at a bomber plant,

The only job he could find in the depressed days of ‘43.


Was he thinking of me one day as he performed 

His daily duties of rote and boredom?

Did he see the shiny strips of steel and think of me,

His only daughter who did not have any bracelets?


That he could envision something made from

The shiny strips of steel is not surprising.

My Father could make something out of nothing,

Could fix anything that was worn or broken.


But that he thought of me as he went through

His work-day so far away from all of us,

That is what moves me even now,

So many years after the deep mourning of his passing.



We didn’t have many material goods in those days.

We always had enough food, and simple clothes,

And we had something much more treasured than wealth.

We had a family of four sons, one daughter, a Mother who comforted,

                         And a Father who made bracelets.


I gave some of the bracelets to my best friends;

In later years, some to my daughters.

Eventually, some did break from years of wear.                                                        

I have only one now.  It never leaves my wrist.

                       It is my lovely, treasured  talisman from my Father.



Mary O’Leary McGlinn

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The McGlynn

My dear, you brought back a flood of memories of a great and wonderful time.
Dad made me in the Spring of ’47 a pair of track hurdles and some starting blocks which replaced the foot holes dug into the cinder track at the start of a race.


Such beautiful and elegant images of a grandfather I never really knew, but whose life I learn over the passage of time. Thank you so much for sharing this.


These are wonderful remembered images of Uncle Dutch and your relationship with him. Your poem evokes very warm memories of family for the holidays.
Love to all of the Michigan family,


Your exquisite poem gives me a crystal clear picture of a loving and devoted father and his family during a simpler time. In but a few words, you told a family’s story and captured its essence. I wore the bracelet you gave to me until it did break and now I treasure those beautiful pieces of twisted metal all the more.

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