Grand Pockets’s Blog

Genealogy, Family, Poetry and Peeves

Russell Oran Elledge, Senior


Russell Oran Elledge, Sr. was my grandfather, of the Elledge family from French Lick, Indiana.  Collaborating with my dad, Russell Oran Elledge, Jr., I’ve produced a biographical essay with photos and links of historic interest. Grandad died before I could meet him, so discovering more about him was important to me. Hopefully the page I created for the entire Russell Oran Elledge, Sr. biography will at least give my kids and family a chance to know him better as well. I wrote a remembrance poem about his death and last day, when he had grown emaciated and wasted to almost nothing from the lung cancer that was taking him, and my father, strong in his youth,  holding him in his last moments. It is a sad poem on death, reflecting on the circle of life.

We Compost Our Shells, Too

I pick him up in my arms, gently, bones

Such fragile twigs to knit flesh upon,

Sackcloth and bunting his tissue.

Where muscle was is memory

Of days he used to lift me high

And spin me, till dizzy. Now I

Cradle him. Reek of liniments and

Burma Shave, something dank –

Odor of rotted earth from places

We compost our shells. Wasted biceps

wrap around my neck. I return his smile.

Morning’s bath and shave await, sepsis

Clings. His beard has gotten tougher,

Inverse to strength, the razor drags

Across furrowed cheeks, steel suffers

From scritchy strokes. He mumbles.

I lean closer, ear to parched lips:

Thunder on far blue mountains, or

Gravel skeeting on tin rattles same

As a last breath. It is finished.

With hands that he delivered

I complete the circle, return him

To rumpled sheets and iron bed.

Bend, kiss that grizzed brow,

Touch closed the lids on vacant

Vision and call mother. Sins of

The father, finally forgiven.

©Charles Elledge 2008

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December 24, 2008 Posted by | family, genealogy | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment