Wednesday, March 08, 2023


by Jane Patten

But for a photo

Neither of you will remember

That day in front of Maranatha Baptist Church—

He, because he had held so many babies,

And you were one of many in 

Such a long and layered life. 

And you, because you were so new

That your life was in the moment.

But we others there rejoiced

How he reached out to hold you,

The aged hands against your soft ones,

His white hair in contrast to your brown,

His wide smile at your

Wide eyes.


You did not know then

How we traveled down the Georgia roads

Of open fields and flatter ground

Just to hear him teach 

And to shake his hand,

Or that that this elder holding you

Had made each numbered day

In a long life count—

Sage, peacemaker, 

Man of the earth,

Man of the people,

Who rolled up his sleeves

To work.


A little later, just a little later,

You will learn more about the man who

Showed the world how to live:

Use knowledge.

Have compassion.


Be present.

Be fair.

Have courage.



And with a photo we will begin:

There you are.

You’re with him.

After retiring and moving to Huntsville, Jane Patten decided to write about her adventures, including growing up in Delaware and her career as a teacher in rural Georgia. Her writings have been published in Out Loud HSV: A Year in Review anthologies, The New Verse News, and Reckon.