~ The Talisman ~


The talisman lay under the rock,

Would have missed it had I not have fallen,

Round with a golden chain,

Just fit over my head.


Changed my life;

Suzzanna was the baker's daughter,

Christopher the boxer,

Harold was our librarian,

And they all liked me now.


Stopped tripping and stuttering,

Walked taller, confident,

Studied every question,

Began to have views all my own--

Many began to hear me.


I knew the Midas touch,

Had visions like Ezekiel,

Had stamina like Alexander,

Had wit like Solomon and Holmes--

Anything was but an attempt away.


Prosperity was a fact, not a goal;

Love an emotion, not an illusion,

Kindness a priority, not a burden,

Faith a virtue, not a misunderstanding--

Living had meaning and significance in itself.


Around my neck hung the talisman;

For years I feared its loss;

For years I pondered its message,

Wondered upon the two line inscription,

Wondered upon this change that had come.


How could one day life be a burden?

How could one day be worse than the last?

How could one day the past be gone,

And the future a treadmill of desire,

That each step made the next easier?


Now an old man am I;

My grandson wears the talisman,

as my son wore it before him;

I've never tired of telling the story,

Of the talisman that eased my life's worry.


Never tired of telling,

How one day I tripped in a creek,

Only there to find that odd looking piece,

With the inscription engraved so neat,

With words that I will always keep.


When my grandson sits on my lap

And asked me to tell him that story again,

I, with a smile, oblige him and begin:

"Hot July day in the creek down by the rusting gin,

Ah splashing water, I was, about ready to swim."


The child's face lit like a lantern,

As through the paces I would go,

With a new image here and there,

The same story, with a new tale spent;

And toward the end, I'd hesitate with care.


Toward the end I'd wait . . . wait.

I'd wait for the words my grandson would ask,

As he held tight the talisman in his hand,

Knowing that I had yet to finish my task,

By placing upon his shoulder my wrinkled hand.


I'd wait and he'd ask,

"Grandpapa . . . Grandpapa, the writing?

What does the writing say, Grandpapa?"

And I, as always, would roll my lips,

And squeeze the back of his small neck.


I'd squeeze and say with a half smile and nod,

I'd squeeze and say with a slow and careful voice,

"Here is what the talisman says, my boy:

     'The best way to fame and fortune, my friend,

     Is to seek such for everyone else.'"


                                     by  M.G. Maness, 1979


~ Click Here to e-mail me at:  MG@PreciousHeart.net ~