This poem was written by George and discovered in his belongings by Nancy. We are guessing it was written around 1997. It was not finished. The italicized verses at the end and the title were added by his son David in September 2009.
George Brakhage, March 2000
The Old Man stood at the shining gate,
   A little impatient… he’d been asked to wait.
“We can’t seem to find a record for you,
   But we can rely on an interview.”

So said the man in the long white gown.
   He wasn’t smiling… but didn’t frown.
“Tell us about your allotted time;
   Keep it simple and you’ll do fine.”

Well, I began, I’m a prairie boy,
   Who found the outdoors a wonderful joy.
I served in the Navy during WW II,
   Then collected degrees from old Mizzou.

A job in Missouri came my way,
   It was lots of fun but not much pay.
A wonderful girl was with me now,
   And four great kids came after the vow.

We moved up north and then way east,
   Life was fine but the jobs were a beast.
Finally it was time to simplify,
   So back to Mizzou for one more try.

“Well”, the man said, “come on in,
   You appear to have lived without much sin.”
“Well”, said I, “your place may be great,
   But before coming in, let’s evaluate.”

Do you have a marsh where ducks abound?
   Some low-lying woods with turkeys around?
How about a woody place,
   Where deer and me can come face to face?

But most important I must know,
   If a garden is here where things can grow.
Because I will be looking for a lady some day,
   And she won’t come here if there’s too much clay.

If you have these things, then step aside.
   I’ll gladly enter and come inside.
But if not, then I’ll say, “Thanks, anyway.”
   And look some more for a place to stay.

The gatekeeper smiled a tolerant smile,
   “You’ll find what you seek so, please, stay a while.”
Then he let the Old Man in,
   And Heaven improved by that much again.

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