Robert Francis

(August 12, 1901 - July 13, 1987 / Pennsylvania / United States)

Hallelujah: A Sestina


A wind's word, the Hebrew Hallelujah.
I wonder they never gave it to a boy
(Hal for short) boy with wind-wild hair.
It means Praise God, as well it should since praise
Is what God's for. Why didn't they call my father
Hallelujah instead of Ebenezer?

Eben, of course, but christened Ebenezer,
Product of Nova Scotia (hallelujah).
Daniel, a country doctor, was his father
And my father his tenth and final boy.
A baby and last, he had a baby's praise:
Red petticoats, red cheeks, and crow-black hair.

A boy has little to say about his hair
And little about a name like Ebenezer
Except that you can shorten either. Praise
God for that, for that shout Hallelujah.
Shout Hallelujah for everything a boy
Can be that is not his father or grandfather.

But then, before you know it, he is a father
Too and passing on his brand of hair
To one more perfectly defenseless boy,
Dubbing him John or James or Ebenezer
But never, so far as I know, Hallelujah,
As if God didn't need quite that much praise.

But what I'm coming to - Could I ever praise
My father half enough for being a father
Who let me be myself? Sing Hallelujah.
Preacher he was with a prophet's head of hair
And what but a prophet's name was Ebenezer,
However little I guessed it as a boy?

Outlandish names of course are never a boy's
Choice. And it takes some time to learn to praise.
Stone of Help is the meaning of Ebenezer.
Stone of Help - what fitter name for my father?
Always the Stone of Help however his hair
Might graduate from black to Hallelujah.

Such is the old drama of boy and father.
Praise from a grayhead now with thinning hair.
Sing Ebenezer, Robert, sing Hallelujah!

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
0 person did not like.

Read poems about / on: graduate, father, hair, baby, red, wind, god

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (Hallelujah: A Sestina by Robert Francis )

Enter the verification code :

There is no comment submitted by members..

Top Poems

  1. Phenomenal Woman
    Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  3. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  4. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  5. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  6. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  7. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  8. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
    Maya Angelou
  9. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  10. Invictus
    William Ernest Henley

PoemHunter.com Updates

New Poems

  1. Vows Broken, The Zentire World Missed L.., Monk E. Biz
  2. ONE MORE TIME, Romeo Della Valle
  3. Why Must You Own Me?, Monk E. Biz
  4. Crescent Cradle, Saiom Shriver
  5. Flowers Do Eventually Wilt, Hazel Durham
  6. No se amor, Sergio Jaime
  7. Haiku: Colored Perceptions, Brian Johnston
  8. Poppy and Moppy, Brian P FitzGerald
  9. 'Nightmare of 'Annabel Lee', Shania K. Younce
  10. I heard him, Nassy Fesharaki

Poem of the Day

poet Edmund Spenser

Of this worlds theatre in which we stay,
My love like the spectator ydly sits
Beholding me that all the pageants play,
Disguysing diversly my troubled wits.
...... Read complete »

   
[Hata Bildir]