Poems my father wrote

My dad never professionally published his poems during his lifetime. I am sharing them here, as I think he was a children’s book author at heart, but never knew it. We talked a lot about writing before his passing in 2018. His ideas were unique, just like him. My dad always said that through writing, he could express himself and let his imagination run free. Enjoy reading these poems from a different era, written in simpler times.


By Keith Rhodebeck copyright 1948,
Iowa Wesleyan College 

I thought I saw a band of elves
Play tag upon the lawn,
But when I looked more closely,
They each and all were gone.

I thought I heard a shadow fall
With force upon the ground,
But when I listened carefully,
I could perceive no sound.

I thought I saw a pine tree bend
And whisper to its mate,
But when I looked a second time,
They both were standing straight.

I thought I felt a fairy's wing
Descend upon my neck,
But when I reached to pluck it off,
I did not find a speck.

I thought I saw the sun smile down
And wink an eye at me,
And then I knew that I had turned
My imagination free.

By Keith Rhodebeck copyright 1947

Come, arouse from your slumber,
From the blankets that encumber
From the misty, dreamy shadows of the night

Through this window that is bordered
With the frosty figures hoarded,
Gaze and marvel at this new and wondrous sight.

Oh what beauties you will see there
What odd pleasures, sights so rare
What great changes you will note upon the scene.

Watch the snow fall, see it drifting
Through the fence rows, watch it sifting
Into snowdrifts oh so graceful and so clean.

As the snowflakes keep on falling,
To your mind are you recalling
How changed the scene looked ere you went to bed?

Are the remembrances of Autumn
Of the trees whose leaves have fallen,
Still lingering as visions in your head?
The Unseen Argument  
By Keith Rhodebeck copyright 1947 

A pair of strong glasses once stood up and gazed 
At the world 'round... and they were amazed! 

They perched themselves high on the nose down below 
And watched all the scenery come hither and go. 

They spoke not a comment, they made not a sound. 
Until they both happened to turn clear around. 

"And what have we here?" a bold lens then cried out. 
"Two sickly weak eyes I am seeing, no doubt! 

They look so unhealthy and puny to me 
That I doubt it quite much if either can see." 

Two eyelids then flickered, the eyes looked aghast 
To be thusly insulted by a mere piece of glass! 

"Who speaks rudely of us?" the left eye did shout. 
Both optics refocused to the eyepiece in doubt.

 " 'Tis nothing," the right eye exclaimed with a sneer. 
"Just some glass that is lucky to find itself here. 

It's dirty and ugly and crooked and bent, 
And the best of its life has already been spent."

 "Tut tut," said a lens, "and I ask who are you 
To criticize now what you've been looking through?" 

The left eye flared up and began to proclaim 
That the glasses weren't worthy of even a name. 

"You think you're important," the right eye reminded. 
"Man can see without you, without us he is blinded. 

And furthermore lenses, the fact still remains 
You're responsible to us...and we to the brains!" 

The other lens bristled and straightened at this And cried, 
"But for us there is much you would miss!" 

The comments came faster, the language grew stronger 
'Till none of the four could restrain themselves longer.

 The four of them fought with such vigor and vim, 
They entirely forgot 'bout the nose under them. 

Mr. Nose was indeed quite patient to bear 
The volley of words that he heard from up there. 

"Children! Children! He finally exclaimed. 
"For quarreling so much, you should ALL be ashamed! 

It is true that eyes cannot see without glass 
And that glasses are made just for eyes, but alas... 

The four of you fought with such zeal and such zest 
You forgot it's on ME that the glasses must rest!