The One Standing Tall

for the Poet’s father

The home is where he lives, his heart is full
Of love, no wealth can buy his rich esteem;
No rock can match those nerves that hold our life
Together still like one heroic dream.

I think of childhood wrapped in special care
Like candy floss in packets hanging high;
My youth a stormy sea of trembling faith
And beside me, he lets the winds pass by.

And one by one, when every face has changed,
When languid years have climbed the stairs of time;
His steady hands remain to pray and bless
My topsy-turvy will with thoughts sublime.

From passing on the smile through tears and sweat
To making me believe that God is near;
His loveliness eternally shall shine
Through days and nights as ages disappear.



Satyananda Sarangi is a young civil servant by profession. A graduate in electrical engineering from IGIT Sarang, his works have featured in the Society of Classical Poets, Shot Glass Journal, Snakeskin, WestWard Quarterly, Sparks of Calliope, Page & Spine, Glass: Facets of Poetry, The GreenSilk Journal and elsewhere. Currently, he resides in Odisha, India.

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25 Responses

  1. Paul Freeman

    A fine tribute, Satyananda.

    The line ‘…one by one, when every face has changed’ was particularly poignant, as was the image of the stairs counting up (rather than the more usual ‘down’) the years.

    Thanks for the read.

    • Satyananda Sarangi

      Glad to see that you liked it, Mr. Freeman.

      I have noticed one thing about my writing over the years – poignant lines come naturally to me.

      Great to have you comment here.

  2. Guy Warner

    “No wealth can buy his rich esteem” That’s something I would want to be said of me, reminds me of the hymn: “Riches I heed not / Nor man’s empty praise”

    Better than most, well done!

    • Satyananda Sarangi

      Greetings Mr. Warner!

      This particular line you pointed is how I have seen my father since childhood.

      And I couldn’t stop posting the complete hymn below.

      Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
      Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art;
      Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
      Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

      Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
      I ever with thee and Thou with me, Lord;
      Thou my great Father, and I Thy true son,
      Thou in me dwelling, and I with thee one.

      Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise;
      Thou mine inheritance, now and always;
      Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
      High King of heaven, my treasure Thou art.

      High King of heaven, my victory won,
      May I reach heaven’s joys, O bright heaven’s Sun!
      Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
      Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

      Best wishes.

    • Satyananda Sarangi

      Greetings, Sir!

      Happy that you loved that line. It’s always a great pleasure to read your poetry here.


  3. Brian Yapko

    Satyananda, this is a deeply moving, heartfelt tribute to your father. There are many memorable, glowing phrases here but I am especially touched by: “His steady hands remain to pray and bless/My topsy-turvy will with thoughts sublime.” The poem you have written with such a generous heart also “makes me believe that God is near.” Well done indeed.

    • Satyananda Sarangi

      These are some encouraging words that will stay with me.
      I have always loved reading your poems full of expertise and versatility.

      Thank you. Best wishes.

  4. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    Satyananda, what a beautiful poetic tribute to your father. I think the older one gets the more one appreciates the wisdom and wonder of significant elders. Your poem captures that essence perfectly.

    The second stanza is my favorite with your “childhood wrapped in special care / Like candy floss in packets hanging high” – great stuff. I particularly your father’s calm guidance, “My youth a stormy sea of trembling faith / And beside me, he lets the winds pass by.”

    Your father’s character and your love for him shine! Just lovely!

    • Satyananda Sarangi

      Susan ma’am, your admiration has always proved to do me a world of good.

      I wrote the second stanza while thinking of cotton candy – often the part of a picturesque scene outside my school gate. Those memories make life worthwhile.

      Grateful for these kind lines.

  5. Margaret Coats

    Satyananda, lines 3 and 4 are most impressive to me because they reveal your father as holding his family together. There is usually one person whose strength and tenacity bring others together, but often family members do not recognize who it is. Beginning your poem with this recognition gives great honor to him, and makes you a credible speaker, because you show yourself mature enough to understand him. Thus your personal memories in the rest of the poem stand tall as wellconsidered analysis of all your father has meant in your life.

    The meter is beautifully regular except in lines 10 and 15, where I would suggest very slight changes. Line 10 is missing two syllables, but you could add an adjective modifying “years” OR an adjective modifying “stairs” to make the line length correspond to other lines in the poem. Line 15 is missing one syllable, and it would be regular if changed to “His loveliness eternally shall shine.”

    • Satyananda Sarangi

      Coming from you, this means a lot to me.

      Margaret ma’am, I wonder how I missed those errors in Lines 10 and 15! As suggested by you, I have made the changes and requested Evan to make the changes.

      Line 10 – When languid years have climbed the stairs of time

      Line 15 – His loveliness eternally shall shine.

      Seems better now I guess. I’d love your feedback on the above changes.

      Best wishes.

      • Mike Bryant

        Satyananda… I made the changes. If you need anything else I’ll be happy to take care of it.

    • Margaret Coats

      I like “languid” to describe the years climbing the stairs. It is unexpected, because poets often bemoan the rapidity of time. But when you call the years “languid,” it emphasizes the long, slow, and deliberate passage of time in the life of a wise man. It also suggests later years when he is physically weaker, and thus contrasts effectively with his hands that remain “steady” in prayer and blessing. Good creative choice! And thanks for accepting my suggestion for line 15.

      • Satyananda Sarangi

        Always a pleasure to learn from people here. Grateful.

  6. Satyananda Sarangi

    Greetings Mike Sir!

    Thanks a ton for the changes. SCP is quite a happy place for me. It has always been.

      • Satyananda Sarangi

        Mike Sir,
        Everytime that I see your name here, my mind takes me back to your poem ‘May God excuse us”. And I cannot stop humming the lines below.

        But God is love and God is all-forgiving.
        God’s demanding, understanding too.
        God holds all the dead and all the living.
        God knows everything we never knew.

        You make SCP a happy place for sure.

  7. James Sale

    A beautiful poem I like very much, especially the line about holding the family together like ‘one heroic dream’: in an age when even the nuclear family cannot hold together (never mind the extended) and where maleness, masculinity, and fatherhood are routinely denigrated, it is good to see the ‘father’ as the source of an heroic power that seeks to preserve his family. That, of course, is not to subtract from the importance of the female principle in the slightest; but that would be another poem! And naturally, as with all yin and yang issues – namely, everything – the overemphasis on either side of the equation leads to ‘heresy’, or more exactly a compensating reaction the other way. Thanks Satyananda.

    • Satyananda Sarangi

      Absolutely right! The problem begins where one side of the equation get offended if the other side is showered with admiration.
      Everyone has a particular role to fit in.

      Thanks for your words.

  8. David Watt

    Satyananda, any father would be proud of such a tribute. I particularly enjoyed your candy floss metaphor for a childhood recalled as sweet and

    • Satyananda Sarangi

      Hello David Sir.

      You have been one constant admirer of my poems. Thanks a ton for your compliment.

      Best wishes.


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