Father’s Day and (in)gratitude
2016/06/19 Leave a comment
(Part of having a father is not always being grateful for what he does, or did, for us… Or not even being aware of most of it. Usually it takes growing up, living, taking our share of hard knocks, and then a few years of doing that pretty tough job he did… to open our eyes. Happy Fathers Day to all, and loving thanks to our own, RIP.)
Sundays too my father got up early
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.
I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he’d call,
and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of that house,
Speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love’s austere and lonely offices?
–Robert Hayden (1913-1980) “Those Winter Sundays”.
With thanks to Garrison Keillor for introducing us to this poem one day, many years ago, on his radio feature, Writer’s Almanac.