Monday, August 29th, 2011

Remembering Daddy

Today is the anniversary of my father’s birth on August 29, 1922, so he would have been 89 years old this year.

Johnny wrote this poem in honor of Daddy and read it at his funeral. Psalm 1 was one of his favorite passages of scripture.


In Memory of Dr. George Henry
Reflections on Psalm 1


No tree however deep the roots,
However high and green the shoots,
However strong the trunk has stood,
Or firm the fibers of the wood,
No tree was ever meant to be
A never-ending shade for me
Or you.  Save one: where Jesus died
With bleeding branches spread as wide
And far as faith for sinful men.


But there was shade, especially when
The tree was old: the leaves were thick
With life, and though the root was sick,
The bark deep-creased with age, the limbs
Were laden down with love, and hymns
Were heard beneath when wind bestirred
The bowing branches with the Word
Of heaven.  O there were years of shade!


And more: there was the fruit he made,
Or better, bore, when all the ground
Seemed dry, we turned again and found
The branches heavy with some rare
Well-watered food and sweet called Care.
There must have been a river there
Beneath the arid earth somewhere
Deep-flowing up around the tips
Of dying roots and giving sips
Of everlasting life for him
To share with us while every limb
Gave up its own.  O, there was fruit!
Life-giving from the dying root.


And more.  Much more.  There was the wood
And it was strong.  It had withstood
A thousand storms, and everyone
More firm.  And now for every son,
Grandchild and every daughter here
He lies a fallen tree and dear,
And leaves in you the solid wood
And bids you stand where he has stood
Beside the river of the Word,
And that you keep what you have heard,
And sing with him in one accord:
“My fruitful house will serve the Lord.”


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8 Responses to “Remembering Daddy”

  1. Catherine Mackenzie

    This is a lovely poem Noel. Thanks for sharing it. C

  2. Beautiful! My father died when I was a teenager and I find this very meaningful.

  3. I’ve read a number of Dr. Piper’s poems, but I have to say this is just the loveliest, most breathtaking one I’ve ever read. What a beautiful memorial to your father and to a life lived for Christ’s glory. Thank you so much for sharing this!

  4. “Uncle” George-actually my husband’s uncle, is still remembered with fond affection, admiration and thankfulness for who he was in His Lord and how he lived for Him and died in Him! Amen and Amen and loved John’s poem the day of the funeral service and thank you for sharing it now. My daddy would have been 100 this year on May 23 2011, same birthday day of the month as your Grandmother, George’s mother, Annie Lou, just different year!

    • Seems like God had special things in mind for May 23. It’s also the birthday of one of our daughters-in-law and one of our granddaughters.

  5. I love this poem.

    My dad lives with us. He will be 90 in December. He does not know Christ, although lived his whole life in the church. We have shared Jesus with him many times. Maybe the next time he will believe.

    I am trusting that God alone knows. It’s knowing that He is sovereign that keeps my heart and mind. (My mother loved Jesus with all her being. She joined the Lord 10 years ago in October.)

    Glad you shared this poem. It is beautiful.

  6. Thank you for sharing this poem – it is so rich!

    I have a sweet memory of your Daddy too! I took the bus down to Barnsville one hot summer day in 1975 to spend some time with my college roommate – Christa! The first morning that I was there, your Daddy came in for breakfast and tousled the hair of each child as he walked to his place at the table. Only a half of them were still there in ’75 so it didn’t take too long – ha! Then he looked at me, got up, walked behind my chair, and gave my hair a good tousle! I thought it was such a warm and loving gesture!

    PS: Christa and I used to sing Psalm 1 to a little tune – I still do!

  7. I have never commented before, but I love this poem too much not to!

    I sent this poem to my husband’s grandmother when her husband died over a year ago. He was a fireman who was so meek, his own children and grandchildren heard of some huge services he had done for the fire department and his city for the first time at his funeral – he never told anyone. Such a lovely and wise poem. It pulls at the heart and the soul.

    Christ keep you!

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