Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Writer L.T. Garvin – #Poetry – Looking Homeward

I am delighted to welcome author L.T. Garvin (Lana Broussard) to Smorgasbord with a series of guest posts, and her first is a heartrending poem about the past, her family and the devastating loss of a mother in wartime. Lana will be joining us every two weeks until April 8th.

Looking Homeward by L.T. Garvin

My father’s younger brother
followed him into World War II
like a pesky little brother would
ready to do his part
ready to make his mark
These two blonde, blue-eyed boys
one year apart in age
Uncle Dail followed my father
down the dirt roads
that they drove sometimes too fast
from a place where time lay easy
fields spread out in a place
harboring more sand than trees
They left the small farm
with perfect rows of beans
a blackberry orchard
and a grapevine that made
small sour grapes
no matter the careful tending
of my grandmother’s slender hands
in the middle of this still world
they left for chaos
Uncle Dail was
not old enough to go
when he signed up for the Navy
there my grandmother stood
broken hearted
twirling her auburn hair
natural highlights of golden honey
hands nervously smoothing her apron
tears welling up in her green eyes
as a mad man raged
as a mad man fumed
on a mad mission
of mad hate
to change the world order
My Uncle Dail
slight gap in his front teeth
with his All American boy smile
determined and good looking
but he had to keep up
with my father
Evenings found my grandmother
writing furious letters
the Department of Defense
“checking into the matter”
and not caring much
for that war must be won
relegating combat now
to the farmers
Off they went
my father and uncle
on two different ships
My grandmother picking up
her crochet needle
halfway around the world
Loud she was
in her criticism of war
her only two sons
now both gone
My father on board
the USS Ticonderoga
My uncle off to Europe
both coasting upon
the destiny of the seas
Uncle Dail mastered the camera
both from behind and in front
documented his adventure
sent his mother poetry
I see kids now
that won’t stand for the pledge
and they tell me
history is useless
Are they freaking kidding me?
I tell them
ordinary people make history
write it too
Uncle Dail was on board
big ships, giant crashing waves
sea storms while
airplane strips cleared for landing
Forces aligned, the Allies rallied
with the emergence
of these fresh-faced American kids
called to defend
proud to defend
way back in another era
before detachment
and eroded family values
Uncle Dail sent
home his letters and cards
teased my grandfather’s politics
My grandmother engulfed
in each correspondence
sitting on the screened-in porch
her copper colored tresses
gleaming in the sun
her elegant fingers caressing
the envelopes
praying for safe returns
In the middle of it all
on the USS Ticonderoga
my father figured
his weekly pay
the distance to and from
this port and that one
went to the ship’s shows
made photos with
blonde Hawaiian girls
all was quiet
D Day came and went
my Uncle Dail
sailing those mystical seas
fortunate for no hits
filed to go home for leave
back to the farm
with the beans and berries
Then somehow in a car
on his way home
all adventure ended there
like James Dean
on a road
with a hitchiker
My grandmother was never
the same after that
this ironic life to blame
she had to face that flag drapped coffin
after all
I held her hand
long after those
two little boys
put their little hands in hers
I held her hand
when her fingers turned knobby
with age, her eyes grew dimmer
but there was still some fiery copper
in her hair
She would tell of these moments
as her thoughts strayed down
one of those dirt roads
when I was her youngest
tomboy granddaughter
on an isolated farm
where the blackberry vines still bloomed
and the grapes stayed a little bit sour
“And how do you like
your blue-eyed boy now,
Mr. Death?”

Uncle Dail

©L.T. Garvin

About L.T. Garvin

L.T. Garvin is a huge fiction fan and literature lover. She enjoys writing fiction, short stories, and attempts at poetry. L.T. has a particular fondness for Southern literature possibly because they have such good food and bigger than life stories in the South.

She currently has three books available, Confessions of a 4th Grade Athlete, a humorous children’s book about a boy named Nathan and his exuberant experiences in school and sports. Another children’s book, Animals Galore explores unique animals and their antics. A novel, Dancing with the Sandman, is suitable for all age groups and takes readers on time travel journey back to the 1960s. L.T. Garvin maintains a WordPress site where she shares fiction, poetry, and humorous essays

Books by L.T. Garvin

About Dancing with the Sandman

The Sandman cometh dancing to the beat of rock ‘n’ roll, blasting the turmoil of the Sixties. And where are you? West Texas, of course. Billie Jo Dunstan confronts her past, traveling back to the 1960s through a decade of turbulence and swirling color memories, contemplating life growing up in rural Texas. Tragedy and comedy come alive, preserving the past and a portion of small town life that will survive beyond super highways and the ratcheting progress of time.
Garvin’s (And They Came, 2017, etc.) latest novel offers a reflection of one girl’s coming-of-age in small-town Texas in the 1960s. … Garvin is at her best when offering these cheeky nods to the past, never getting bogged down in nostalgia.
A winning narrator enlivens a charming tale of a town facing modernity.–Kirkus Reviews

One of the reviews for the book

The story starts and ends in west Texas as Billie Jo revisits the small town she grew up in, a town left behind years ago when progress, in the form of a new highway, raced ahead. It’s a place that holds memories so tangible they feel like ghosts rising out of the sand, and they create the substance of the story.

Garvin calls the book a fictional journey, but it reads like a memoir. If you were a kid in the 60’s, this book will feel something like a trip into childhood, a time before helicopter parents and iphones, a time when kids had to create their own fun while learning the painful lessons of life.

Though the book takes place in Texas, there is so much about Billie Jo’s experiences that felt familiar to me, a child of rural Connecticut. In a way, the qualities that make up a childhood – the way adults are perceived, the family quirks, sibling teasing, unexpected kindnesses and losses, how kids think and fill their leisure time – seemed universal. This is a thoroughly relatable book.

And told as a “look back at the ghosts of the past,” the book has a nostalgic aura that lingered beyond the last page, calling forth my own ghosts and eliciting memories that I’d forgotten. Dancing with the Sandman is a lovely, poignant, rich read for all ages, but especially for those who enjoy memoirs and those who were children in the 60’s.

Read the reviews and buy the book:

And Amazon UK:

Also by L.T. Garvin

Read the reviews and buy the books:

And on Amazon UK:

Read other reviews and follow L.T. Garvin on Goodreads:

Connect to L.T. Garvin


My thanks to Lana for sharing this poignant poem about her family and it would be great to receive your feedback.. thanks Sally.

32 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Writer L.T. Garvin – #Poetry – Looking Homeward

  1. Your poem is so touching, Lana. It was such a harsh reality that your Uncle Dail fought a tough war, came home in one piece but lost his life at home.
    Thank you Sally for featuring Dana and her beautiful writing.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Writer L.T. Garvin – #Poetry – Looking Homeward | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

  3. What a beautiful and tragic poem, and the perfect end to my day of reading posts. I love Lana’s poetry (and prose), consistently riveting whether she’s making me laugh or cry. Her book is amazing too, Sally, and I’m so glad you shared my review.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round up – Social Media Woes, Jazz, Gardening, Italian Recipes, Nutritional cooking, Flash Fiction and Books Galore | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

I would be delighted to receive your feedback (by commenting, you agree to Wordpress collecting your name, email address and URL) Thanks Sally

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