The Most Beautiful Place

~Al Byrnes ~

"The Most Beautiful Place" was dedicated to my Dad. And he would have said that very thing at the end of the poem . . . It's not . . . but love that makes . . . The Most Beautiful Place. We had that River of Joy right in front of our country house and the dock with the rope was about a city block down the river. Also that Hippo Rock legend is true. All of it is true as are all my stories. I have a lot of nice comments and replies on that poem of reflection.

"The Most Beautiful Place"

Many years ago, when I was about ten, my family and I and sometimes a friend,

Would head to the country, a place all can enjoy,

Whether young or old- but especially a boy!

Just on weekends, but that’s enough time, for fishing, swimming, or a turtle to find.


Daddy worked very hard, hauling coal from place to place.

He needed "get away time" from the city "rat race."

Less than two hours away, from our Irvington town,

The most beautiful place on this earth could be found!

From a distant road, my mind’s eye can see, The River of Joy beckoning me.

It’s the Musconetcong both gentle and hard.

It highlights the border of a picturesque yard.

Wild flowers, bountifully found. Medleys of evergreens abound.

Scenes of nature seize the heart, the creator’s speaking work of art!


Families of Deer at sunrise drink, bowing at the Rivers brink.

Harmonious lyric of birds begin, my heart can scarcely take it in!

The River’s cooling breeze, sunrays yielding to the trees.

Perfect gifts His love affords; none can merit such awards.

At woods edge a cottage stood, custom built with pride and wood.

Improve this arrange, no artist could!


Things at the dock were so exciting, Rainbow Trout at sunrise biting.

The "River Rope " was there too! We’d swing way out into the deep.

If that chosen tree could talk, what tales of joy and fun he’d speak!

He’d tell of the boasting cannonball, with colossal waves and splashing!

And the ((stinging)) belly flop, that brought with it belly laughing!


He’d tell about the legend . . .

Was it true? We had to know!

So just like Tom, and Huckleberry Finn . . .

Down the river, we had to go!

We drifted on a canvas raft . . . so many miles we did roam?

Curiosity kept driving us farther from our home.

We were longing for a beast of stone, as a hungry dog begs for a bone.

How much more must we explore? Where’s this beast we’re looking for?

She’s exactly where she’ll always be, secured by keyless lock.

Our hope became reality! We just found "Hippo Rock!


Someday if Providence allows, I’ll return to The River of Joy.


Even if nothing there has changed, nothing there will be the same.

I’ll think of Mom, so busy all day, friends and family coming our way.

I’ll think of badminton and croquet, games my sisters loved to play.

I’ll think of Daddy all the day, and all the things he might say.

It’s not what the River can bring. Nor the songs that bluebirds sing,

Nor wild flowers and evergreens, or any majestic lofty scenes.


None of these,

Only Love can make . . .

The Most Beautiful Place.

A true story by Al Byrnes, 10-17-99 in loving memory of Daddy,

Special love to Mom, Linda and Nancy!


Al Byrnes



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