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Jon Michael Willey

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thomas curry willey
by Jon Michael Willey
Monday, May 30, 2011
Rated "G" by the Author.
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Recent poems by Jon Michael Willey
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           >> View all 288

A tribute to my paternal grandfather so long overdue. My thanks to John Flanagan for the inspiration.


thomas curry willey


america’s civil war is ended

reconstruction struggles through dixie

eighteen-seventy and lincoln is cold

eternally bound in his grave by the ages


thomas curry willey came into the world

of bucolic sussex land the measure of many

coarsened folk a requisite character trait

 to bear up there in penury’s land


the burden of tedious duties overwhelmed

survival made off with joy and festivity

trudge filled days painted eyes and faces hollow

destitution’s children knew labors, no sport


soil fit to challenge the best of cultivators

 weary the pleasures of rest were not tasted

adapt and accept hardship’s steely grip

or fall to the unyielding demands of the land


good men of the time cast off their pride

 reduced to backbreaking menial tasks

towing onerous duty today’s leisure crowd

could not even conceptually harbor


from farmer to near indentured logging slave

I wince at the relentless effort he long gave

a man who wore the hats of diversity to raise

seven children when luxury and rest were words


that never held out promise to his weary back

blistered palms and fragile body longing for ease

through it all eighty-three years he endured

men of my grandfather’s grit have all passed


Jon Michael Willey





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Reviewed by C. McGovern-Bowen 8/7/2011
Jon, you have moved me deeply with these words. My paternal grandmother endured a very similar life. Susan Kramer eventually fled
the hardships of County Cork, Ireland and traveled solo across the
Atlantic (steerage), became an indentured servant,& paid off her debt
before marrying my grandfather... life in Providence, Rhode Island was a little better, though the Depression &WWII offered additional challenges for that generation... I do agree that the sheer bravery and true grit of that generation has sadly passed...
Excellent work.
Reviewed by Mary Lacey, Desertrat 8/6/2011

A tribute to your grandfather and the trials he faced. Wonderfully written.

Reviewed by Abdi-Noor Mohamed (Eagle Of Hope) 6/14/2011
Beautifully written, expressing the true character and personality of a strong man in history. This is not a tribute only to your grandfather but to all men who live his time in that wonderful land of America.
Reviewed by Carole Mathys 6/14/2011
What a loving and honest tribute to your grandfather now the men of that era had true grit and honor, beautifully written Jon Michael.
love and peace, Carole~
Reviewed by Andy Turner 6/11/2011
This is much more than a tribute.
It's a time when men of such ilk were the norm. Get up and get go with life, never complaining just living. Living life, not being anesthetised by living in a world of meaningless distractions, killing time, killing life.
Reviewed by Paul Judges 6/9/2011
A fine tribute, Jon !
Reviewed by Regis Auffray 6/4/2011
This is a fine tribute, Jon; also a vivid reminder of what life was like back then. Thank you for sharing, my friend. Love, peace, and best wishes to you,

Reviewed by Phyllis Jean Green 6/1/2011
Oh, Jon. What a tribute!!! SO well written, and. . .I don't know what to say.

Wonderful, wonderful job.

Keeper, this!!

W o n d e r f u l !!!!

xOx Phyllis xOx
Reviewed by JMS Bell 5/31/2011
Reviewed by Liana Margiva 5/31/2011
EXCELLENT!!!!!!!!!!!!! Liana Margiva
Reviewed by Karen Palumbo 5/30/2011
Have they passed Jon or is life so easy of late they just remain dormant waiting for the moment to rise again? Ilike to belive they are still alive, still close at hand. Wow, what a fabulous tribute to your grandfather and all he endured throughout his life...

Be always safe,
Reviewed by John Flanagan 5/30/2011
I've found a hero here, Jon,
a true grit and a true soul without pretence, angle or spin,
"...when luxury and rest were words"
(how perfectly said!)
Thomas Curry Willey shines in your lines,
he is splendid and immortal.
Thank you, My Friend, for the mention
but all i did was give you a nudge
and very glad indeed i did for you've produced
a special lasting work.
This i save.
In admiration,

Reviewed by Vesna Vanessa 5/30/2011
men of my grandfather’s grit have all passed

Alas..couldn't agree more!

Ah yes..they were MEN in every sense of the word..goodness WHAT happened to men..why have they LOST that aspect of their Being...hmmm

excellent work John..truly amazing..thank you!

Vesna :)
Reviewed by Sheila Roy 5/30/2011
I couldn't agree more with your conclusion, Jon. Men really had to be men back when. But I think the heart of that kind of courage lies in every man; it's up to him to tap into it. Thank you for sharing a close-to-your-heart poem. Great imagery, too, Jon. Hugs,
Reviewed by Ronald Hull 5/30/2011
You did not struggle for words to describes the times and the man. A great tribute he would have not understood. Most of us have memories of men like him in our families.

Now thomas curry willey is immortal.

Reviewed by Christine Alwin 5/30/2011
Jon, This posseses history and heart that moves a reader to no end, poems witten that are over due probably are filled with more...your Grandfather would be so proud!
Reviewed by Gene Williamson 5/30/2011
Jon, a most moving portrait of your grandfather, and a brief
but eloquent history of his time. My grandfather, too, was
a veteran of that same horribly destructive war. This, my
friend, goes directly to my library. -gene.
Reviewed by JASMIN HORST SEILER 5/30/2011
You made him proud with this most eloquent tribute Jon, your capture of his times, and todays, is worth a poets pen indeed, and yours have filled your pen with his labour left behind, bless you!
Jasmin Horst
Reviewed by Vivian Dawson 5/30/2011
Grandfathers, so have captured the essence of yours, Jon...or to sit upon their knee...God loves them, as I did mine!

Lady Vivian
Reviewed by Christine Tsen 5/30/2011
Wonderfully written tribute, John!
There are so many great lines.
You are so right about the times in these lines
towing onerous duty today's leisure crowd/could not even conceptually harbor", and my favorite
trudge filled days painted eyes and faces hollow/destitution's children knew labor, no sport". Incredible eloquence!
Reviewed by Jerry Bolton (Reader) 5/30/2011
You got that right, my friend, but if intuition tells me those days may come back to us. I fear the earth, or a huge part of it, will be almost inhabitable in half a century or less. It won't be global warming (jeez, have to laugh every time I hear that), but from the Big Blast from multiple high-tech weapons fired from different point of the glove in the last hurrah for mankind and his toys.
Reviewed by D Johnson 5/30/2011
And it is a good thing that men like you...remember. Your grandfather would have been proud of what you have done.


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