Herman de Jong

Paul de Jong (son)

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A poem that was 'discovered' just the morning of the funeral, pasted onto the back page of a book of other poems by Herman de Jong (using what looks to be Christian Courier galleys), struck such a chord with its readers that they added it to the scheduled list of reflections. It seems appropriate that dad got the last word.



The road between
Orangeville and Listowel
stretched ahead of me,
A fine drizzle obscured
the ploughed fields
on either side of the road.
Miserable, unendurable,
downright nasty weather,
at the memory
of sun-drenched fields,
a morning sun shimmering
through silver leaves
of birch trees beside a
happy Ontario lake.
My car radio wasn't
in a happy mood either.
Snatches of CBC Toronto
hesitated to cross
the bitumen of the glistening
endless road I traveled.
The music was Wagner,
heavy, foreboding Wagner.
An alto voice floating on an
immense orchestra, bewailing
the misery of the world.
A penny for my thoughts!
She's seen nothing yet!
Such external signals of
misery, played havoc with
the internal mass of soft
undulating greyish matter
underneath my skull.
I thought of Dad,
eighty-five, stroke,
nursing home, unable to
I worried about our mortgage
about to be renewed, mumbled
a few unkind words, in the
general direction of Ottawa.
I though about .....
Then it happened!
The sky, the sky, the sky
bled open!
Ahead of me ... lo and behold,

Palmerston in dazzling sunlight!
As if on cue,
the radio program changed.
A Vienna waltz suddenly
one - two - threed through
my van, and I felt like
waltzing it over the road
using the centreline
as guide.
As a law-abiding citizen
you just don't do a
thing like that
of course.
I grinned,
I laughed aloud.
Nobody sees you anyway,
on the road
Orangeville and Listowel
Imagine what the eternal sun
of God's grace
can do to our lives.  

Herman de Jong

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