Songs in Sepia and Black and White
There was a handsome man who
parted his hair down the middle,
a man who left way too young.
Died at thirty-three, father
of six, the eldest only twelve.
This man played the mandolin,
sang German songs as a tenor.
I sometimes see him in sepia,
sometimes in black and white.
I sing fire sage for Dorothy,
miniature irises and roses
climbing a white trellis.
Shallots growing in her garden
and rhubarb stalks at the edge.
Lettuces in her cold frame.
Memories of a father who died
when she was six, memories
of a mandolin and tenor voice.
Stories and irises for me, the grandson,
from Frank’s late daughter, Dorothy.
Songs in sepia and black and white.
—Norbert Krapf (Marion County)
This poem will appear in Songs in Sepia and Black And White (Indiana University Press, 2012). Norbert Krapf, Indiana’s previous poet laureate, is originally from Jasper. He’s the author of numerous collections of poetry, including the forthcoming volume mentioned above, and the memoir The Ripest Moments. In 2011, he was awarded a Creative Renewal Fellowship from the Arts Council of Indianapolis.