Lessons in Love
Inspired by William George Falconer, 1922 – 2006
I. The First
The photo flew from Grandad’s falling wallet.
It fluttered to the floor within my reach.
I picked it up and saw the writing on it –
Summer ’64 at Brighton Beach.
I gazed at Gran – a siren of the ocean –
Her skirt hitched up, surf lapping at her thighs,
A skittish grin with saucy notions frozen
In tantalizing, sea-and-sunshine eyes.
My tender heart had plenty left to learn.
The man who snapped the picture taught me well.
He told me Gran’s bold beauty made him burn
To dance with her till frost froze flames of Hell.
I knew that day the value of our chat.
I knew that night I’d pray for love like that.
II. The Last
His feisty spirit hid in wizened skin
That stretched across each worn and weary bone.
I saw his grief – that wretched wince within
His wistful eyes. He choked down every groan.
I held my grandad’s gnarly hands in mine –
Hands that fought a war and built a life
With she who made the bleakest moments shine –
My grandmother, his gone and longed-for wife.
He told me, when the stars were in his reach
And always silvered sprawling golden sand,
He’d meet his foxy sweetheart on the beach.
They’d waltz and kiss then walk home hand in hand.
He taught my smarting heart the marvel of
That death-defying miracle called love.
Susan Jarvis Bryant is originally from England and now lives on the coastal plains of Texas. She has poetry published in a variety of places. Susan is the winner of the 2020 International SCP Poetry Competition and has been nominated for the 2022 Pushcart Prize.