Below are excerpts from Paco’s long story poems, intended to be published as individual books. Written in a heart-warming tone, they follow the stories of two men who learn to open to love their cold, frozen hearts.
Ellipses (…) indicate where the poems have been abbreviated.
NOTE: You are welcome to share my poetry with others – please credit “Paco Pasqual” with a link to my website. Thanks!
In a pitch black room sat the old Humbug
Who never did more than grunt and shrug.
His rooms were littered with decades of grime,
The rafters sagged from years of decline.
He’d stare out the window with a horrible glare,
And so no one visited – nobody dared.
Bitter and broken, with no one to care,
The tired old bug was headed nowhere…
Until one day, a neighbor came knocking –
Unusual because most people kept walking.
But on this day, a child was curious
About the old man who often seemed furious.
He knocked on the door. The Humbug insisted,
“Leave me alone!” But the boy persisted.
He knocked again ’til the Humbug jested,
“Nobody’s home!” His patience was tested.
This boy was tenacious – he didn’t give up.
He pushed at the door but found it was stuck.
He waited a moment then decided to mention:
“Please, mister Humbug, I want to ask you a question!”
Despite his distrust, the man was intrigued.
What could this boy have been led to believe?
To knock on the door of a crotchety crab –
Did no one tell him the old man was mad?
Still, the Humbug was provoked by the boy’s indiscretion.
He rose from his chair where he’d left an impression.
Emerging from darkness in the corner of the room,
He pulled on the doorknob to open his tomb.
In poured the sun with ribbons of light,
And “Whoosh!” came the air, aiding his plight.
A new dawn was upon this old Humbug who stared
At the bright, open sky and fresh morning air.
The boy said, “Hello, sir! Can you come out and play?
My father’s not home, and it’s such a nice day!
I brought my own glove. Here’s my dad’s – it will fit.
We can play in the yard – if you throw, I can hit!”
The Humbug was startled – not sure what to say.
Could it be this boy was inviting him to play?
He paused for a moment before his reply,
Stunned by excitement in the child’s eyes.
But before he could speak to this spirited lad,
Visions emerged of a life he once had:
Pulling on wagons, pushing on swings,
Running from girls, flying kites on strings,
Lemonade stands and bicycle rides,
Nights under the stars with friends by his side –
Memories from childhood he had put on a shelf.
And in this little boy he saw himself.
Remembering a time when he was that age –
Exuberant and open, the world was his stage –
It was clear to him now how he’d gone so astray:
He’d let bitterness in and pushed others away.
Though his body had changed, from his skin to his health,
His soul had remained true to itself.
From deep within, he could feel his heart growing
‘Til suddenly it burst, and the tears started flowing.
He cleared his throat and suppressed any fear,
Mustered a smile to mask his own tears,
Did all he could to disguise his own issue,
But the boy saw his pain and offered a tissue.
The old Humbug lit up! Joy filled his soul!
He wanted to play and stop being a mole!
Why had he wasted away all those years
Full of anger at others when the choice was so clear?
“OK,” said the Humbug, “We can go out and try,
But I am an old man, and you’re young and spry.”
The little boy laughed, grabbed him by the hand,
Led him outside, and told him where to stand.
So they giggled and played and had plenty of fun.
The man threw the ball, the boy hit a home run!
They both jumped with glee, chanting and cheering,
“We won the game!”, all the neighbors were hearing.
They played all day, catching and hitting.
The Humbug kept going – never tired or sitting.
Renewed with the strength to climb a mountain,
Joy washed over him, like youth from a fountain.
And as the day ended and down went the sun,
The little boy thanked him and said, “I gotta run!”
The Humbug shouted, “Can we do it again?”
And the boy said, “Sure! I’ll bring my dad and some friends.”
And as he stood there, waving goodbye
The Humbug was humbled, a tear in his eye.
No longer embittered, no longer estranged,
From that day forth, the old man had changed.
A calm came upon him as he entered his home.
This hermit had learned he wasn’t alone.
His joy re-awakened on that summer day
By releasing his fear and going out to play.
© 2010 Pasqual Torres
…He was known as the Curmudgeon by the town’s folk
For his sour demeanor and the few words he spoke.
When his wife awoke and saw he was not around
She had an idea where he might be found.
She told the girls to go out and play
And went to her neighbors to share her dismay.
She asked their son to do her a favor:
Please go to the woods. Much time this would save her
My dear husband you will find huddled up there
Hiding the sorrows he’s afraid to share.
The neighbors’ father had left in a similar way,
Gone from his home on a cold autumn day.
He fled to the woods and never returned,
Leaving the family alone and concerned.
As his thoughts raced by on his long expedition,
He barely noticed he had passed a transition.
Gone were the maple and tall, shady trees,
Replaced by oaks, devoid of their leaves.
The way became dark, spooky, and lonesome
He wondered why anyone would dare to come
To the edge of this forest without being required,
But he vowed to continue and not become tired.
The surrounding woods made him terrified,
Staring at him with knotty brown eyes.
He knew they were dangerous and worthy of dread,
So he quickened his pace, skipping up ahead.
He sat there in silence for what seemed like years,
Lamenting how his life was molded by fears.
The boy saw the man’s look of disgust,
So he spoke up again, knowing he must.
“It’s time to move on from the pains that ail you
And the anger at those who sadly have failed you.
All we have, good sir, is the here and the now.
If you come with me, I can show you how.”
When you were a child, your parents made choices
To ignore and silence their children’s voices.
This was not fair, and you felt at the time
That it was not safe to let your heart shine.
But now you are grown and free to explore”
The wonders you knew you couldn’t before
And choose differently than your parents did
By opening your heart and loving your kids.”
Emotions came flooding, and his eyes swelled.
He now understood what the boy knew too well:
Children need fathers for more than support.
They need comfort and kindness and nothing short
Of full-body hugging, laughter, and delight,
To tuck them in bed and wish them goodnight.
Closeness and warmth they need from a man
Who’s strong yet forgiving and does all he can
To model for them in good times and bad
A loving, patient, vulnerable dad…
© 2010 Pasqual Torres
All poetry, images, and concepts are property of Pasqual Torres. You are welcome to share my poetry with others – however, please credit “Paco Pasqual” with a link to my website. For permission to publish any of them, please contact Paco.