A Sampling of Mel Young’s Writing



I’ve carved totem-poles and Indian heads.

Now I’ll carve a boy instead.

I’ll carefully carve my kind of boy,

And mold him with a smile of joy.


It will keep me busy the long day through,

Just teaching him the truth and what to do.

I’ll make him honest, brave and true.

With laughter, he’ll never be blue.


It won’t be easy, it’s part uphill.

He’ll get to the top with his strong will.

He may twist and turn and give a sigh,

But he’ll move on even if the mountain is high.


When the going is rough, he won’t turn about.

He’ll never give up, he’ll stick it out.

Life’s uphill climb may be very slow,

And it seems he can’t take another blow,

But he won’t give up when he’s hardest hit,

For this is the time when he mustn’t quit.


To him, to become a strong man seems afar,

I’ll say, ‘You don’t know how close you are.

I’ll carve you into a real strong man,

And on your two feet proudly you will stand.


I’ve finished, and now it’s time to depart,

Carving you has helped me find my heart.

We’ve shared your youth, now you’re grown.

Passing time can change it not; you’re on your own.


Now I think did I make him a lovely lad?

Did having me shape him make him glad?

Making him into a man did I leave out a tiny part?

Did I give him self-esteem and a loving heart?


I tried to carve in less about the love of power,

And more about the importance of each hour.

In my mind with all my love, I must not forget,

That he’s just a boy and not a man yet.

Now my carving is done. He leaves my hand,

He’s on his own to follow God’s command.



I saw her smile throughout the years

When there should have been tears.

She did her work with a smile every day,

Whether good times or bad, that was her way.


Her smile influenced many lives,

Especially mine, when she became my wife.

For seventy years, we loved and cared for each other.

Four times she became a smiling mother.


We buried our dear daughter, a day of grief,

But she smiled with courage beyond belief.

In spite of growing old, she still smiled and loved everyone.

Her work here on earth was almost done.


She left much beauty for all to see,

And memories of love that she shared with me.

Then came the end of her happy life’s story,

As she went home to glory.


God sent a special angel to lead her away

On that special homecoming day.

And she smiled, her baby was waiting at heaven’s door.

She held her in her arms, not waiting any more.


Forgive me now if I shed a tear,

I’ve missed her now for too many a year

I miss most her sweet smile,

But I’ll see it again in a little while.



Every Saturday afternoon and sometimes Wednesday night,

Papa got his shaving things and set them up just right.

“Ruby, bring the looking glass,” he never failed to call.

“The one above the comb case hanging in the hall.”


“Maggie, put the kettle on; Jimmy, chop some wood;

Guy, you and Martin bring it in and fill the box up good.

Willie, draw some water; Mama, where’s my strop?”

Oh, everybody had his job, and each one had to hop.


Then from his head he’d pluck a hair and hold it in the light,

Testing the razor’s sharpness to see that it was just right.

And then he’d strop a little more, and pluck another hair,

Till all along the razor’s edge the cut was clean and square.

He’d pull his face from side to side to tighten up the skin,

First of the cheek, then throat, lips, and chin.


“Someday you boys will know what trouble it will be

To do this once or twice a week,just wait and see.”

But my small children never knew that I shaved every day.

Within my tiny bathroom, they’d just be in the way.


And now their children care still less about their daddy’s needs.

They are busy with their own many deeds.

But sometimes I get lonesome, and wish we could have saved

The family solidarity we had when Papa shaved.


Carla G. Harper - Author, Publisher, Speaker