Passing of Pete Seeger inspires poetic tribute

Roy Vestrich writes, “This piece is a tribute and remembrance for Pete Seeger, and I know from conversations overheard at the local bagel shop, that he is in many of our thoughts.”
The Unbroken Petals
for Pete Seeger
At a table near mine
in a local café
two older men are sipping coffee
and talking about you,
about the specifics of your voice
thinning into time
and the worn banjo strapped
to your chest like a medal
earned in the most testing
of hours.
These men are close
to your era by birth,
and I am of one 
just a heartbeat later,
about the age of their sons
who may have been lost
in that muddy mess,
or perhaps those others
of us who flanked
to each other in a city park
to protest and parade,
our black armbands raised
to the victory V migrated
into new meaning
above the chants and cries.
And in that crowded place
your voice helped draw us out
from the shadows of a history
about to be handed down.
You and your lanky tenor
were the father
we all wished we had,
the one who understood
the simple joys
and the sorrows
no others should need endure.
Too often in such bright light
the world fades
and the stage becomes the singer’s all.
But for you, I dare say,
the opposite was true.
And the world we now hold in hand
is awash in the light you chose to share.
For me there is some comfort
in knowing that wherever
your voice settles
the flowers are not gone,
the unbroken petals float
on the great river
to meet the shifting tides.
They will drift to where they will
and find you there still singing,
still smiling.
Roy Vestrich, East Middlebury

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