Thursday, June 19, 2008

Late Father's Day Posts

Here I go again, two posts in one day, but I have been meaning to post this, and I am just now finding the time.

First a favorite poem in honor of Father's Day. If you are reading this and are not around other people, I suggest that you read the poem out loud. I love the sounds and the rhythm of this poem. You obviously can't appreciate it as well if you don't read it out loud. Just a little teacher suggestion.

"Those Winter Sundays"
Robert Hayden

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?

I have loved this poem since college, but I love it even more now that I am a parent. Only now do I even slightly understand all of the things that my parents did for me, while I "spoke indifferently to them." I guess each stage of parenting will allow me to gain a little more understanding, though I suppose I will never fully understand. And I echo this poem, "what did I know of love's austere and lonely offices?" I am starting to get a glimpse of those lonely, austere offices.

I also love the picture of the father getting up in the blueblack cold (can't you just feel the cold in the hardness of those sounds?). My dad always started our cars before school on cold mornings. And made sure we had gasoline. And that our oil was changed. So much behind the scene stuff. So much that I just expected him to do. And he prayed with us on the way to school--the whole way, ha, ha. Sometimes, I would open my eyes because I wanted to be able to see a little bit of the scenery. But I am so thankful that he thought it important to pray with us before school. So, daddy, if you are reading this, thanks for all the little details.

And, mom, you know that I know you did a million things too--I will have to do a late mother's day post:)


Elizabeth said...

Laura Beth, you can imagine my surprise when late last night I checked your blog and found the Father's Day Post. I thought it was going to be about Scott, but it was about Daddy. I told him to pull up a chair, and I read it to him. I love that poem and I love that phrase, what is it - Austere and lonely love? my short term memory. As I've told you before, the older I get, the more I groan and think, "Oh Mother and Daddy, I had no idea". We laughed out loud remembering the prayers on the way to school - ALL THE WAY to school. Great Post, Great Poem.

Elizabeth said...

Sorry, it was austere and lonely offices. I like that better.

The Slagleys said...

I am so glad that the crying didn't last too long last night! It is so hard not to go in there, but I promise that she won't keep it up for long. I think a weekend is a good time to do it so you can (maybe) rest the next day! I am proud that you didn't go in there- it is so hard when you know that they will eat and go back to bed. BUT- you have a full night's rest headed your way soon!