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Arnold Palmer Tribute

The Heart of the Man

From the mists of a time when heroes were born

on a soft and cloud‑kissed September morn,

a golfer came out of the Pennsylvania hills

whose promise proved true and whose legend still thrills.

Deacon, his father, first taught him to love

the sport that came straight from the heavens above.

They strolled rolling fairways in all kinds of weather

and unwrapped the game’s mysteries, learning together.

Doris, his mother, taught him about living.

That it’s not what you get, it’s about what you’re giving.

From that little frame house on the fifth at Latrobe

flowed her grace, which he carried all over the globe.

While still a young man on the brink of his life,

he ran off with his lady love and made her his wife.

First came his daughters, apples of his eye

who missed him each time he had to wish them good‑bye.

Then came the battles that spiced up the story ‑

a rousing rich tale full of struggle and glory.

He tamed wild St. Andrews and old Cherry Hills.

Augusta’s Cathedral blessed his courage and skills.

A great Army gathered who marched in his name.

They followed his exploits and protected his flame.

Soon came Gary Player and the wily Jack Nicklaus

and the Age of Great Rivalries had come to pass.

And through it all, Deke was there whispering,

“Forget personal triumphs; the game is the thing.”

Past fifty, when some mortals are tempted to fade

he conquered a new tour and took up a new trade.

He designed and built challenges, both lovely and tough

so that we could all share in his vision of golf.

Now as the sun sets, with the wind at his back,

he still charges each course, ever on the attack.

And just like the old days, in bad play or good;

in pain or a slump when some others might brood,

he takes that sweet moment to nod and to smile

or chat with a friend or reach out to a child.

In fact, his caring for children has been revealed

by the place that he built them to go and be healed.

Fortune is fickle and fame can be fleeting.

Lady Luck can desert after one treacherous meeting.

I wondered, what was it, what reason or rhyme

etched his name in our folklore for now and all time?

So I searched out his Army and urged them to tell

why fans the world over are still under his spell.

The winning? The titles? The charisma? The swing?

What was it exactly that crowned him THE KING?

The silence was telling as his old friends thought

about decades of memories Arnie’s friendship had brought.

And the truth each spoke quietly again and again?

“It’s simply the size of the heart of the man.”

CINDA © 1995

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