BRISTLES ON THE COMB

The Cousins’ Parents, after Mass at St. Lawrence Church, c. 1947

She died at 91 and cousin Bud is philosophical
Perhaps because he’s ninety-five, although sounds well
For someone in that category when we hear him speak
By phone to us, not tremulous especially or weak

Given birth to in a country that was not the least
Like this one with its deadly drugs and broken homes—
Though life as then was certainly no constant feast—
They gathered honey from the hive inside its combs

Harvested their vegetables and used their grain
For chickens and their fertile dairy cows to feed,
Sold at roadside, beef and milk they would retain
To make the gravies for the restaurant in town they’d need

Now there is more poverty of different kinds
For then there still were families with children born—
People went to church and kept their better minds,
Were not so drug-besotted or perversion-torn

So many lose their faith in God, morality,
Traditions of the faith and of the family
And find instead another faith in power, money
Instead of bristles on the comb filled in with honey