August: Songs in my Heart

You would have been ninety-eight today. I mark the date as the day awakens—crickets chirping, and birds beginning their morning chorus, a little later now in August than June. I imagine you as you were before you got sick—larger than life, or so it seemed. Until you shrank, encased inside a body that had become frail, and then your life shrank, too. In your last apartment, filled with bric-a-brac (a word that always sounded like a magical game to me), the Chinese vases and statues, the antiques that shared space with other collections–books and papers, drawings and old art projects we had made—later, after you were gone, and the space echoed with silence, we found the old school lunch boxes and report cards in your closet.


Your grandchildren, my daughters, played on your balcony. I remember red geraniums there, but perhaps I’ve added them in my mind, as I’ve added them to my kitchen window box. I think about my daughters playing and singing, wonder if their love of music came from you. I wish you could have seen the women they’ve become. You would be so proud of them. (I hate that you are gone.) I suspect you, and not my mom, bought the Broadway soundtrack recordings that my sister and I listened to so often when we were little, making up plays in our Dallas bedroom. I remember you singing. Did you have a soundtrack running in your head, as I do?

When I was a teen, you drove me crazy singing “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” over and over again. I hated that song (I hate that you are gone); I’d love to hear you sing it again. With age, I’ve realized the universe is filled with music, though we don’t always hear it. Some songs drift through your brain, others you hear in your heart.


Heart-songs float through time

stars, the proud troubadours, sing,

tones linger like dreams




My dad’s birthday was yesterday, August 9. This Haibun is for Colleen’s Weekly Poetry Challenge. The prompt words were hate and pride. I had another idea that used the words much more definitively, but this happened instead.








40 thoughts on “August: Songs in my Heart

  1. Merrill, I cried. Pure and simple this is a glorious tribute to growing older, accepting our parents for who they were, and love. Excellent take on the prompt words and your depth of feelings. Pure amazement! ❤

  2. Sweet words for your handsome, kind hearted dad. The lessons in love he taught you are still present, and they are the ones you’ve passed on to your daughters, as well. He certainly was a treasure. Lovely tribute, Merril.

    • Awww–thank you so much, Rose.
      My dad was not really kind-hearted, and he was very opinionated. He did not treat my mom well, but he did love us–and well, she was there to say goodbye to him at the end.

  3. Beautiful, Merril. Ah, so happy you could capture him in a way that shows how you miss him. My dad ALSO loved the Raindrops song and sang it a lot and I always hated it (just heard it yesterday and thought of this!). My dad also loved Proud Mary (to dance to) and If I Were a Rich Man (to sing), and the only one I liked was Rich Man. xo

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  5. Your dad was a smart and handsome man, to judge by the photo. A great remembrance by you, particularly how you miss hearing him sing the song you used to hate hearing him sing. 🙂 That’s what good dads do.

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  7. Awww, yes! I loved this tribute with so much about your father. I wish he had lived a longer life but your memories are diverse and numerous, Merril.
    My Dad would have been 85 this year. I miss him every single day. He was a warm and loving man, silly at times, too. I could imagine the songs he sang to my Mom in the kitchen and to me, really would have driven you crazy! We have that thread in common. 🎼 💕
    🌟 “Some songs drift through your brain, others you hear in your heart.”
    I loved this very much. Thank you!

    p.s. (Dad’s to my Mom was the schmaltzy, “If ever I would leave you” early days and later Neil Diamond’s, “Crackling Rosie.” Mom’s name is Rosalie but some special people, including Dad called her Rosie.)

      • He was a romantic kind of man. (His birthday was 7/31/32)
        It was fun to have his demonstrative personality around. Thank you for sharing about your father, again. 😊

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