For Phil’s dad


Sitting in the chair
Replacing death with hope
A chemo I.V.


Phil Wilke is a dear friend of mine from when I lived in Kansas. And while, sadly, my move to New England has put much mileage between us, no distance has grown to separate us…he is still as dear to me now as he was then.

Phil is wonderfully intelligent, wise, kind, generous and one of the funniest people I have ever met. It was with great sadness that I learned from him recently that his father was ill with cancer. (In fact, I wrote The long wait after hearing about it.)

Although Phil is a journalist and a great prose writer, he has used the terseness of haiku to express himself during the difficult times his family is facing. I am honored to share one of these haiku  with you. I hope you like it and I look forward to your comments.


Comments © 2014 by John Etheridge; all rights reserved. Poem © 2014 by Phil Wilke; all rights reserved. Oddly enough—for me, anyway—it is used by permission of the author.


Filed under Poetry

9 responses to “For Phil’s dad

  1. Warm wishes and good juju for your friend and his father.

  2. Been there. I wish that Phil’s Dad has a warm hand to hold.

  3. Life can seem so cruel… I hope and trust that one day we will understand. ♥

    • It’s hard to reason it out, that’s for sure, but still, in the end, we all must go through that final door. I think, sometimes, it is harder on the surrounding family.

  4. J-Man: a great piece written from your friend; a great peace for this sojourner, I hope; “sitting in a chair” exudes a sacred stillness, with courage to hope; and the warrior’s cry that hope is more powerful than death. Thanks for letting us be a part of your story, and this friend’s story, and this father’s story. T

    • T, I wish that you could meet Phil, you two would hit it off immediately: two brother wild men, instantly recognizing the genuine and the sensibility to be honest and true in each other!

  5. Amy

    Replacing death with hope, eloquently expressed… Thank you for sharing.

    • Amy, my pleasure. In this haiku Phil did what everyone should do in a haiku and few rarely do: with a subtle touch, reaching a brutal level of honesty and truth that makes you ache in the reading. He was honored I posted it, I was honored he let me.