skip to Main Content
Once Upon A Time – A Poem For A Patriarch’s 90th Birthday

Once Upon a Time – A Poem for a Patriarch’s 90th Birthday

Geno Cerilli, affectionately known as “Tut”, is a man who has touched my heart immeasurably. Usually referred to as my Dad’s army buddy, this bear of a man has always held secrets and stories I loved hearing glimpses of when he and my Dad would hold court. He embodies love and every endearment, and it is my hope that through the art form of poetry I have been able to capture the essence of this most noble man celebrating nine decades on this Earth. Happy Birthday Geno, with much love …..

Once upon a time
in the middle of the century
in a time of patriotism
two men carved as if from the same stone
from different parts of the country
met in uniform.

They were sturdy, tough
and wielded power
yet neither one of them knew
that their true power could be found
beneath the crack of their armors
where their hearts lay
vulnerable and eager to connect.

And so they did
in a world where love went unspoken
but shone through deeds and acts of courage
even some of foolhardiness and
unvalidated wisdom
in a transfer of trust and a vow
that was to last forever.

They fused friendship seamlessly
bound by loyalty
one could only hope to encounter
in a single lifetime.

And now all these many years later
after seasons of celebrations
spanning the annals and rituals of Judaica and Christ
always meeting at the sweet overlap
of the essence of their faith
through their children, grandchildren, milestones
growing and laughing and crying together
hugs and handshakes fuller than mountains
there remains standing
as bright as a beam of starlight
nourished by memories
a bear of a man
with the purest of hearts
I myself can imagine.

And thanks to him
there remains a halo
where the friends once stood together
hovering over those we lost,
decreeing from Heaven
that he would be the shepherd of all that needed caring for
with tender protectiveness
over the days of our lives
on this mysterious earth dwelling
knowing without a doubt
that if we can count on anything
for sustenance and connection
that which words can barely describe, it is he.

So in this act of offering a container of emotion
that too often goes without saying
one that can be bestowed
at a time of celebration of a life
so richly and deeply lived for nine decades
I let these words tumble out
for a gift
no matter of time or virus could erase
the words transmitted
straight from the soul to the pen
for the sheer desire to touch
the very heart
meant to receive it.

Celebrating through poetry
the indelible mark
of his life upon mine
through a man we both loved dearly
who blesses us from above
whose stories bear telling
wholeheartedly, never missing a beat
or a belly laugh
with a smile that never leaves his eyes.

Why the holy Spirit took the others
is a question we can’t answer
though I surmise
he is the one with the core strength
to survive more than we ever imagined
and continue to light up our lives
with his rock solid presence
and hold a space in a sacred corner of my life
created by God
and among other reasons, to remind me
that as an artist and writer
he has always seen me for who I really am
and to remind him
that he is seen, heard and appreciated
as the Patriarch
a King to transcend lifetimes
a knight in luminous armour
with a heart big enough to hold court
amongst the many angels
dressed as those who love him so.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back To Top