updated post: swimming in the warm springs

I’m watching Ken Burns’ The Roosevelts and thinking of my best friend Don Brody, who was stricken with polio as a child. I wrote this poem a while back while flying over the empty places between Utah and California. Don, a fine musician, used to tell me about the therapy he’d received at Warm Springs, where FDR recovered from polio.  Brody was one of the last of my generation to contract polio. In fact, the vaccine was available when he came down with the disease, and his father, a physician, had some vaccine, but it was still new to the market, and his dad was concerned about the safety of the product, so he made the decision not to administer the vaccine to his son. That decision plagued him all his life. Both Don and his dad, Dr. Stan Brody, are passed now, two of my greatest friendships. Enjoy one of Don’s songs at the link below.


swimming in the warm springs

The requiem that lowered
my old friend into the ground,
plays on, never long escaping
my memory

Looking out over dark patches
that once held life,
barren now but for the twinkle
of water in moonlight,

I think of him as a boy
swimming in the warm springs,
one day to be joined there
by me


©Daniel von der Embse

The Day Roy Orbison Died, by Don Brody


song for a friend now gone

I used to sing with him did you know?
We made sweet music for a drink or two
It was a long time ago before you were born
We’d sing of a time we never did know
With no need to worry about being alone

I used to love him did you know?
We’d put on a show for a drink or two
Without any clothes and nothing to hide
But the child inside
We sang it loud we didn’t care
If no one was there

I saw him one last time did you know?
We carried each other over the snow
And settled in for a drink or two
No one knew it was time to die
One more song to remember us by
I hear it now ringing in my ears
Getting stronger through the years



©Daniel von der Embse