With a Twinkle and a Smile

by Jeral Williams

Large stone 
embedded under the massive oak, 
perfect for rest and contemplation.
Grandpa said, “God lives there.
express troubles and dreams—
then listen.”

Every spring,
a large garden appeared on the sunny side,
in the shade, he placed marshmallows (the little ones) in neat rows.
He said, “I always wanted a marshmallow tree
with clusters for my hot chocolate.”
The squirrels smiled.

Pine needle mulch around his roses,
some spread beneath the oak.
He said, “An angel comes at night
weaves baskets and hides them in the trees.”
The wrens chirped.

I left for college, with a large teddy bear
he taught to do happy dances.
He said, “Lonely or sad,
hug and dance with him,
troubles will smile away.”

When he died, I hugged my bear 
and went to the stone,
poured out my heart and listened—
I listened to the squirrels and the wrens,
I listened for God.
My heart heard whispers.
I rose and began my journey 
to feed the hungry
shelter the homeless
and hug the needy.

Jeral Williams is a poet living in Mobile, Alabama. He is a retired professor whose Christian journey has been long and winding. He has published “Being a Proverbial Student,” a reflection on the need for Christian students to pursue knowledge, understanding and wisdom. His weekly blog can be found at his website: proverbialstudent.com

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