Ben Orlin

The Hardest Thing

The hardest thing for unproved men—
it scares them to the bone—
starting out a journey
with ending still unknown.

The hardest thing for wiser men—
it makes their blood run cold—
carry out a journey
whose ending is foretold.



My father broke a record
that my father’s father set.
I don’t think I can break it—
my kid might break it yet.

In my father’s room I found
his father’s father’s pen.
I’ll give it to my kid—
so words can flow again.

My father’s father showed me once
his father’s father’s grave.
“Save a thought of him,” he said,
“It’s all that we can save.”


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