Featured Poem: 2020 Hindsight

By Janet Fagal
Central New York Branch


For my father, who would have been 100 in 2020, in remembrance of his positive spirit and everlasting belief in the goodness of the world’s citizens.


I want to tell you

it’s been a long year…

we’ve lived with fear in our hearts

masks on our faces, time on our hands

every place and in between


I want to tell you

I took inventory of desires, set new goals

gave myself permission to unwind a bit

swept away cobwebs, focused on what matters more

sometimes wept


I want to tell you

I’ve read books, pondered poem after poem

listened hard for morning birdsong

learned to be comforted by silence and the dark

and fought the quicksand that kept me from what I loved


I want to tell you

we’ve lost too many, suffered too much

how I’ve wrapped myself in your smile and advice

yearned to hear your voice

and remembered how hard you worked to make our lives nice.


  1. Lori Joseph says:

    Janet Fagal, I shared your lovely poem with my friends on Facebook.

    I both enjoyed and related to your candid conversation.

    • Janet Fagal says:

      Thank you so much, Lori, for your comment, and the share. It has been a life-altering experience…….I wrote this for a class I took. We were assigned the epistolary (letter) form, so as I wrote, I knew I really wished I could be once again comforted by my dad.

    • Janet Clare Fagal says:

      Oh, Mary B. thank you. I am sending a hug because I know how lucky I was. Actually I am so grateful that I have always felt I needed to show that appreciation by trying to live up to his example and dreams. Janet

    • Janet Clare F. says:

      Thank you Mary B. I was very lucky and I know it. I try to live up to his hopes and dreams for me. Thanks for your comment. Much appreciated.

  2. Dorothy Kamm says:

    While the poem may be set in 2020, it speaks to all of us who have lost our fathers. Mine made it through the pandemic, through the imposed isolation of his ALF, to visiting with him inside and me outside, divided by a window screen, to limited and finally unlimited in-person visits. He passed away in May, about two weeks after his 98th birthday.

    I still “talk” to my dad and my mom in my mind, as many of us do.

    Wonderful poem, well stated.

    • Janet Clare Fagal says:

      Thank you for this comment and sharing about your special dad. We understand each other for sure. I am glad you finally got to be able to see him in person. There’s an old saying and I heard it was a German one originally but not sure, “too soon old, too late smart” that comes to mind because as parents we may not realize how absolutely critically important we are for a lifetime. Thank you for your letting me know my poem “spoke” to you. My sympathy on your recent loss of your beloved father.

    • Janet Clare Fagal says:

      Thank you so much, Marianne. My dad has been gone for almost 16 years but it still feels like he is with me. I am lucky we had him for so long. But I wish I could have talked to him during the pandemic. I know he would have had some wise words.

  3. Brenda Layman says:


    Thank you for sharing this moving tribute to your dad. I think it speaks for many of us. My dad, too, worked hard to provide a better future for us, and I have also thought of him often during these trying times. Much is changing, but much remains.

    • Janet and Fred Fagal says:

      Thank you, Brenda, for you comment. I am glad we share this in common. I consider myself so blessed and lucky. I know it is not the same for everyone.

  4. Calder Lowe says:

    Dear Janet Fagal,

    You have captured the depth of our despair in 2020 and our overarching,
    heartfelt desire to truly connect with one another on a spiritual level. Your
    father’s legacy lives on in your creative gifts. You have blessed us all with this

    • Janet Clare Fagal says:

      Dear Calder,

      This is a comment I know I will treasure. It is so lovely of you to be so kind. I appreciate it very much.

  5. Absolutely wonderful and so true that is too true. But then, last night, History woke me up and sternly informed me “Don’t think you are the only one. ‘You ain’t seen nuthin yet’”

    • Valerie Robert says:

      You totally captured my thoughts during the pandemic and lock-down. I also very much relate to your Dad’s legacy. Happily, I had a similar experience with my Dad!

      • Janet Clare Fagal says:

        Thank you Valerie. I am glad to hear you, too, had a wonderful Dad. I am glad my poem resonated so clearly for you. Thanks for commenting.

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