The poetry of life | PostIndependent.com

The poetry of life

Heidi Rice
Post Independent Staff
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RIFLE ” On most days, when Dave Kehr goes to the nursing home to visit his wife, Frances, she is sleeping.

But the 87-year-old longtime Rifle resident recently went to see Frances, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, at the E. Dene Moore Care Center and was pleasantly surprised to find her awake. It inspired him to write a poem called “She Was Awake Today.”

My lady lives in the nursing home

I visit with her a while each day

Most of the time she’s sound asleep

But I found her awake today.

She smiled at me and held my hand

But she didn’t have much to say

We talked a bit of days gone by

When I found her awake today.

She seems to know just when I’m there

As she sleeps the long hours away

A nurse came by and said to me,

“I’m glad you found her awake today.”

Even though we didn’t talk so much

The old chemistry came into play

She went to sleep before I left

I was glad to find her awake today.

Kehr has been writing poems and short stories for years and says he writes about whatever inspires him.

“I do it for my own benefit,” he said with a smile. “It doesn’t take very long, although sometimes I think about it for a long time and I know what I’m going to write.”

Kehr hand writes his poetry and tales, usually at the kitchen table at his home on Taughenbaugh Mesa, where he has lived for 43 years. Someone else types them on the computer. He has bound copies of his material, which covers nature, wildlife, the Southwest and whatever else strikes him.

“I’m not trying to make a living at it,” he said with a chuckle. “You know what they say ” ‘don’t quit your day job.'”

Kehr is originally from Iowa, but was stationed in Denver during World War II. He liked Colorado so much, he decided to stay. He worked for Public Service Company of Colorado for 28 years before retiring.

Kehr has been married to Frances for the past 10 years, following the death of his first wife in 1991. He has three children from his first marriage ” Linda Upton and Martha Murray, both of Rifle; and a son, Harold Kehr, of Loveland.

“I met my (current) wife through my sister, who claims she doesn’t have anything to do with it,” Kehr said, his blue eyes twinkling.

Frances has been at the nursing home for the past three years and Kehr makes an effort to see her almost every day.

“She recognizes me when she’s awake,” he said. “But sometimes she lives in the past and sometimes in the present.”

At home, Kehr likes to garden.

“I have a big vegetable garden and a flower garden as well,” he said.

And sometimes he just likes to sit on his porch and watch the birds, which inspired him to write his poem, “Lovey Dovey.”

I saw the dove up on the wire

While his mate sat in a tree

He sang a love song to her

Please come fly away with me.

She nodded gently in the breeze

As she listened to his plea

As he sang his song again

Please come fly away with me.

She left her perch on the branch

And flew to the wire in glee

He sang softly in her ear

Please come fly away with me.

Then they both flew to the tree

And each sat there on a limb

They billed and cooed, head to head

Then she flew away with him.

While he isn’t actively trying to publish his work, Kehr has distributed lots of copies of his collections to people who have heard about them by word of mouth.

“Everybody that reads them wants a copy,” he shrugged.

Those wishing to see more of Kehr’s poems and tales can call him at 625-2539.


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