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A Tribute to Karen

by Tony Whitaker

i jumped into this job
hoping to help employees
find their door
with their name on the knob
or caressing with words
to erase some fear
so many times consoling them
in their sorrow-filled tears

it has been good to help others
find their space in this place
where an animal called man
can choose to live
or to fill space
like changing perspectives
not unlike untying a knot
or support some poor performer
get out of that spot

i owe so much to Karen
my boss for seven years
in helping me grow
overcoming my own fears

her answer "it depends"
as an answer she taught
once only words
and words i despised
but looking back now
i realize how wise
for as a “black and white” thinker
i once thought this a guise

Karen always cares
and steady afloat
her hand on the helm
of our lean corporate boat
her sails at the ready
with no fear to ask why
in addressing commands
constantly cascading
down from on high

Thank you Chief
i salute as i leave
for this chance on your crew
a shipmate indeed
helping hard working people
see the company’s creed

i learned under your command
crying is a courageous act
when the words I had to state
made some deep impact
then carefully creating
their self esteem to come back

i love Karen for the person she is
why give her “Chief” as a name?
the short answer is this
i so named my loving father
whom I still miss
like Karen he had a
smile and manner
and anyone he could tame

Karen though controlling
carries it well
and just like my father
she showed me so well
i now say goodbye
as i step on the dock
may these memories
not fade away
as time passes
on the clock


Author's Note: I became a much better person as a result of this job and Karen Johnson. I salute and will miss you....

Posted on 06/13/2007
Copyright © 2021 Tony Whitaker

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by A. Paige White on 06/14/07 at 12:30 AM

Beautiful farewell tribute to someone you obviously love and respect. If you are going to give this to her, I only have one suggestion. Read S8 out loud. I couldn't figure out exactly what you meant in L2. Maybe an "I or we" is missing? I am sure she will cherish this tribute. It's very heartwarming.

Posted by Quentin S Clingerman on 06/14/07 at 01:03 PM

A wonderfully loving tribute, most gratifying to work for and with someone whom you respect and evidently who respected her employees. Well written.

Posted by Alisa Js on 06/16/07 at 08:51 PM

Quite an outstanding testament to one for whom it is obvious you have the highest regard for. Thank you for sharing with us out here and allowing us this peep into your world. Aloha to you and Happy Father's Day. alisa ;-)

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