THE RANDALL KNIFE
My father had a Randall knife.
My mother gave it to him,
When he went off to World War II,
To save us all from ruin.
If you've ever held a Randall knife,
Then you know my father well.
If a better blade was ever made,
I was probably forged in hell.
My father was a good man,
A lawyer by his trade,
And only once did I ever see,
Him misuse the blade.
It almost cut his thumb off,
When he took it for a tool.
The knife was made for darker things,
And you could not bend the rules.
He let me take it camping once,
On a Boy Scout jamboree,
And I broke a half an inch off,
Trying to stick it in a tree.
I hid it from him for a while,
But the knife and he were one,
He put it in his bottom drawer,
Without a hard word one.
There it slept and there it stayed,
For twenty some odd years,
Sort of like Excalibur,
Except waiting for a tear.
My father died when I was forty,
And I couldn't find a way to cry,
Not because I didn't love him,
Not because he didn't try.
I'd cried for every lesser thing,
Whiskey, pain and beauty,
But he deserved a better tear,
And I was not quite ready.
So we took his ashes out to sea,
And poured 'em off the stern,
And threw the roses in the wake,
Of everything we'd learned.
When we got back to the house,
They asked me what I wanted.
Not the lawbooks not the watch,
I need the things he's haunted.
My hand burned for the Randall knife,
There in the bottom drawer,
And I found a tear for my father's life,
And all that it stood for.
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