Our Father’s Eyes

He opened his eyes,

final breath imminent.

They had been closed

all night,

and well into the day.



painter of life’s perfections,

Our father’s eyes

glorified the subtle.


with brush, pencil, or pen,

he would bring the images forth

with seeming ease,

the strokes

so sure,

and pure.



as he died,

he had to open his eyes.

The last image,

a sailboat,

making its way south,

along the coastal waters,

of the Atlantic.

It came into view,

white sail vibrant,

reflecting late afternoon sun.

My sister’s and I

held our breath,

as our father let go of his,

face turning towards the sea,

eyes open,

following the sailboat,

until it disappeared,

taking our father away.


And maybe,

if what we are

continues after death,

our father is painting on,

without pain,

eyes open

to perfections

we can only begin to imagine,

from here.


Paul D. Ortlip:  May21, 1926 – February 14, 2008IMG_5637


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