Jan G. Otterstrom F.

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Born almost a year before “LittleBoy” fell on Hiroshima
Jap submarines still patrolled, not far from San Francisco
started kicking hard, the Second Act of Verdi’s Rigoletto
voice of Jan Pierce on stage at Duke of Mantua’s Court
most beautiful baby on Bay Street, “what long eyelashes
he has” exclaimed ladies, as his buggy rolled by
his blond mother smiling with pride, along Embarcadero
Pre-school, kindergarten, Salt Lake City on Harvard Street
then Pacific Beach, Missouri Street war again 38th Parallel
violin and rosin bow, scales and nursery rhymes in notes
Cub Scouts, La Jolla was his parents dream, high above
fog and eucalyptus oil, ocean blue and wave lines below
lonely as a Meadowlark he whistled, first poem: a girl
walking her dog, Elementary, Junior then High School
there except for 1961-1962, Lycee Jaccard, Lausanne
flying over Greenland to Copenhagen, reversing ancestor trails
finally Geneva then a late night train along Lac Leman
a boarding school for kids of rich and famous busy parents
or fathers and mothers with vision to expand a child’s horizon
home to graduate 1963, La Jolla High School, as he worked
at Scripps Institute of Oceanography, following diurnal migrations
of dinoflagellates, copepods, plankton critical part of food chain
the French had left Vietnam after their defeat at Dien Bien Phu
May 1954, Geneva Peace Accords July 1954 established
the 17th Parallel as temporary demarcation, Democratic Republic
led by Ho Chi Minh while Ngo Dinh Diem was installed South
in the State of Vietnam, Ike Eisenhower pledged support to stop
communism, by 1965 boots on the ground, while he attended BYU
to study Wordsworth, T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound and Lord
John Maynard Keynes, B.A. English-Economics 1967
Hart Larson Poetry Prize his senior year, then to Law School
Jesuit scholarship at Gonzaga, JD 1971, no Cum Laude
he worked in Title Insurance to feed a growing family
married June 1966 to his college sweetheart, moved by
Volkswagen to the North West, built a law firm then
a mining company, public stock transactions, securities law
Wood Badge, Boy Scouter, counted stars and cooked cobbler
in his Dutch oven, served a mission to save the Lamanites
remembering the covenants of God to them, blessed with
nine wonderful children until finally serious health issues
brought his divorce and demise being miraculously hurled
into Paradise eleven degrees north of the equator, poems
began to flow, the logic of the universe clicked in green
bounteous rain, flocks of colorful birds ever celebrating
marriage, two more boys, now young men as he pioneered
the Caribbean, met communists again, they revered his poetry
resistance creates art and music, isolated, embargoed
the spirit’s wind blows and whistles to those who listen.

© Jan G. Otterstrom F. February 11, 2015