Saturday, July 11, 2009


I was looking for the guitar tab for Famous Blue Raincoat when I came across the poem I wrote for my Grandpa Bixel when he died. I know my mom has a copy, but I haven't seen or read this poem since shortly after it was composed more than 10 years ago. I was struck by the emotion that welled up in me upon reading it again. I saw my cousin Wendy on Thursday night and she told me that she still cries for Grossmama, my Grandpa Bixel's sister, who died 14 years ago. I feel their presence strongly today, but can't say exactly why.

for james woodrow bixel
November 7, 1913-March 17, 1999

I see you now over a grand, grand piano
a glass of the finest red wine keeping you in check.
and your dear friend Wolfgang by your side -
duets of the grandest kind!
dancing with the angel that you met
when you were only my age
singing sweet songs with your sisters
smiley gaily at the world down below.
Socialism is the only way! you bellow from
on high
and I hear your cry
of lunacy and lucidity and true, infinite beauty.
you greet me on Tuesdays, and sometimes Thursdays
from the tops of trees
and shake your well formed
piano playing
composition finger at me and
command me to behave.
but ah, grandfather, I am young and don't easily forget
the night you had a bit too much to drink and
stumbled through the streets of Vienna.
so tell me, is it subert?
or schubert?
You are the only one who truly knows.
So dance on stilts and skip on the ice
and walk me round the block of life
telling me stories and making up songs.
I'll visit daily with a bottle of wine
a song for the ages
and a smile of honor
for I am the granddaughter
of a great man.


Jennifer Chappell Deckert said...

Thanks for posting this, AM. I miss him too, remembering ice skating together and the Messiah. I sometimes still ache for GMM. What a legacy!

Sara said...

Thank you AnnaMarie. What a wonderful poem. And the picture brings back such memories!!!

Nick Smith said...

that's completely beautiful.